Bottled Faeries- Immoral?
Rows upon rows line wooden shelves, as if ready to march to freedom. Glinting behind the impenetrable glass, their colours warm the interior of their prison. Eager shoppers point at them, comparing prices. You may find the odd person grabbing one, and throwing it in their shopping basket with as much care they would use for a negg.
Even if you are new to the wonderful world of neopets, no doubt you have seen the army of Bottled Faeries littering the shelves of shops all over Neopia. They are sold in the sprawling malls of Brightvale, right down to the small family shops found up the back streets of Tyrannia. Those of you who may not be familiar as to what these vibrantly coloured and intriguing faeries are, or why they are encased in these bottles, I will explain briefly.
Bottled faeries come in 6 different kinds; dark, light, earth, fire, water and air. Upon being broken, these captured faeries must bless your neopet and teach it a certain ability. This ability varies depending on the type of faerie you have released. How wonderful. A highly useful 'product', you might say.
However, faeries don't come pre-packaged in bottles like some factory-generated merchandise. They are living things, with thoughts, feelings, friends, families, jobs, homes etc. Human-like creatures entitled to basic rights, proper treatment and most defiantly respect. Faeries are renowned for the good deeds they do, and the joy they spread (all except the dark faeries; nasty lot) wherever they go. They are extremely well-liked throughout Neopia.
But despite their greatness, there are those who dislike them. Balthazar, an infamous bounty-hunter, captures helpless faeries and imprisons them in glass bottles, ready to sell on. His business and his profits are flourishing through his hate. He has a mini business empire built through cruelty. Thousands of Faeries are captured each year and the authorities do not consider it to be a problem. People even buy shares in this immoral company.
To gain an insight into what these glass jails must feel like, we organised an experiment with five enthusiastic neopet volunteers. To ensure our volunteers got the most realistic experience from this experiment, it was closely monitored by experts. Five large glass bottles were set up on a big, mock-up shopping shelf, in Dr. Jenkins's labs (who kindly let us have one of his test rooms for the day, to create this experiment). The volunteers were placed in these bottles and left for two hours. Towards the end a mechanical hand picked them up, as if they were being grabbed off a shelf. They were then released. One of our volunteers, an Aisha named Hecate, kindly allowed us to interview her about the experiment.
‘The first thing I noticed was how small the bottle is. Barely enough room to move my body round. The glass was rounded, meaning if you leant on it too much, you would slide down. The glass was also slightly blurred, meaning seeing outside was rather difficult. This was a bit disorientating. And we were never told when the mechanical hand would reach for us, which injected tension into the experiment too. When it did pick me up, it bashed me around a fair bit, like I was a toy rattling around in the bottle. The whole experience was claustrophobic, uncomfortable and scary.’ So, after this unpleasant test, will Hecate continue using faerie bottles in her everyday life?
‘It certainly gave me harsh and brief insight into these creatures suffering. Some are left in these conditions for months. It’s terrible. I definitely won’t be buying bottled faeries for a while.’
But the crime that the faeries are imprisoned against their will by far is not the worst. The fact that we, the Neopian public, buy the faeries on a daily basis is the biggest crime of all. We buy them as readily as we do food, toys and clothes.
By buying these creatures we are aiding Balthazar’s evil company, and giving him the fuel to continue his inhumane business. He relies on us, and our neopoints, to survive. We are ultimately in a position of great power. We alone can squash the faerie-bottling trade. Since the authorities are doing nothing, we are the next best thing. But do we take advantage of this power? No. So why would we, the Neopian public, want to assist in making these gentle and caring faeries, suffer? Shouldn’t the horror of these creatures’ situations be enough motivation to do something?
It’s partly to do with the huge demand for them. They are extremely useful, and assist us in improving our neopets, something that everyone is concerned about at the moment. Our narrow minds only see a product and not a person. This mindset is responsible for the continuation of this horrific practice. We perhaps need to change this. We perhaps need to alter our way of thinking to relieve these creatures' constant fear of imprisonment. We need to perhaps think of new ways to get what we as the Neopian public want, and also to end these creatures torture at the same time. Balance our principles and our needs; our morals and our demands. Perhaps think about that lonely Bottled Air Faerie languishing in the dark, dusty corner of your safety deposit box, dreaming of the day she can finally be released from her prison, and return to her life. We as Neopians need to ask a very simple question. Are Bottled faeries immoral, and if so, why do we still buy them?
I hope that this article encourages you to think about the way in which we gain our everyday products, and to question how much suffering we are causing simply by buying them. I hope you can now consider your personal impact on the lives of these innocent faeries, and are now considering what you can do to help the situation. We need to pull together and dwell on how our society is affecting others, and how we can improve this.
Thanks for reading.