Captive Souls Playing Cards – with 50% of sales going to Born Free Foundation

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Captive Souls Playing Cards

Captive Souls Playing Cards

The minute I saw the Captive Souls deck on Kickstarter I KNEW I had to do a write-up on it. The creators of this deck, Holly Richards and Josh Smith, hope to not only help raise awareness of animal welfare by getting these cards into your hands, but also to raise money for Born Free in the process, to help with their fight against animal suffering. They will be donating 50% of the sale price to the foundation that works “throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering and protect threatened species in the wild.”born-free-logo

“I’m not no animal
Though I am to you
I’m not no crocodile
Like the one in Dublin Zoo
Who lived in a cage
the length and breadth of his body
With a window which people would look through
And throw coins on his back to taunt him
‘though he couldn’t move
Even if he wanted to…..”

Sinead O’Connor’s song ‘Red Football’. This is fact. I was there. In Dublin Zoo in about 1980. We went with our class to Dublin for a school day-trip and one of the venues was the zoo. We all honestly thought that the crocodile was plastic. Because he didn’t move. We didn’t realise that this was because he COULDN’T move. And there was an open window at the top of the glass and yes, his back was covered in coins. Once I realised – years later – that he was actually real the thought of it broke my heart. It still does to this day. I’ve never been back to that zoo.

The plan is for this deck to incorporate images of various animals, whether it is endangered animals or animals being forced to live in unspeakable conditions for the entertainment or otherwise of humans. These illustrations will be hand-drawn in black and white, created with dip pen and ink.

What is unique about this deck is the fact that, at the time of writing this, only 4 drawings have been completed (see the image at the top of this write-up). This may strike some of you as odd – how can we be asked to buy something that we haven’t seen? But really, just look at the illustrations already completed, and the process of drawing them. You KNOW that this is going to be one amazing deck. I can understand the creators Holly and Josh wanting to get this project out there now instead of waiting until the deck is complete. This is a situation that needs to be brought to attention and dealt with ASAP. There is no point in waiting. You can help by pledging for a deck or two. Just click over the Kickstarter project page – free delivery in the UK.

Captive Souls Playing Cards - Harambe Drawing Process

Captive Souls Playing Cards – Harambe Drawing Process

We’ve all seen the news coverage of the killing of Harambe the gorilla. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the situation, whether the mother was at fault, the zoo, or even the child himself, one thing is for certain – Harambe was blameless. But he is the one who paid with his life.

Captive Souls Playing Cards - Cecil Drawing Process

Captive Souls Playing Cards – Cecil Drawing Process

Cecil the lion was lured out of a sanctuary in Zimbabwe and killed by an American dentist called Walter Palmer for no reason other than it made him feel like a big man. This story rightly gained world wide disgust and revulsion.

Novel writing software without the learning curve.
Captive Souls Playing Cards - Hanako Drawing Process

Captive Souls Playing Cards – Hanako Drawing Process

For elephants in captivity the pain and torture can go on for many lonely years. Hanako was transfered to a Japanese zoo from Thailand in 1949. From her arrival to the time of her death in May 2016 she didn’t see another elephant. A campaign to secure better conditions for her gained 470,000 signatures, but she died before any changes could be implemented.

Captive Souls Playing Cards - Tilikum Drawing Process

Captive Souls Playing Cards – Tilikum Drawing Process

Tilikum is the largest Orca (Killer Whale) in captivity. His ‘home’ is the ever popular Seaworld in Florida. He was captured at 2 years old in 1983 and has been in captivity ever since. An animal that ‘should’ have the run of miles and miles of ocean has been crammed into basically an oversized swimming pool. Naturally, this has resulted in him becoming over stressed and therefore aggressive. 3 people have died as a result of his emotional state. His dorsal fin (the fin on the back – think of Jaws) has collapsed, which is a glaringly clear indication of his mental and physical health.

These are just 4 examples of the mistreatment and suffering of animals at the hands of humans. Trust me, Holly and Josh will (unfortunately) have NO PROBLEM coming up with another 48 to fill the deck. But they have come up with the brilliant idea that their backers should be able to suggest some ideas. Personally, I would have way too many suggestions on what should be on the cards.

Captive Souls Playing Cards - Backers input welcome

Captive Souls Playing Cards – Backers input welcome

The plan is to have these cards printed on high quality linen stock by NoirArts/NPCC of ‘Asylum’, ‘Back to the Asylum’ and ‘Branle’ fame. The pips will be printed in metallic ink and the tucks will have foil stamping. So why not get your name down for a deck of cards that not only displays incredibly talented drawings, but also helps to raise awareness and funds for probably one of the best causes on the planet – the preservation and welfare of our fellow creatures. Click on over to the Kickstarter project page and grab yourself a deck or two. 

** Update – A new addition to the deck is the 10 of Clubs – the Mighty Polar Bear, as suggested by one of the backers of the deck. **

Captive Souls - Polar Bear

Captive Souls Playing Cards – Polar Bear

“Sentience is the capacity to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively. Eighteenth-century philosophers used the concept to distinguish the ability to think (reason) from the ability to feel (sentience). In modern Western philosophy, sentience is the ability to experience sensations (known in philosophy of mind as “qualia”). In Eastern philosophy, sentience is a metaphysical quality of all things that requires respect and care. The concept is central to the philosophy of animal rights, because sentience is necessary for the ability to suffer, and thus is held to confer certain rights.” – Source: Wikipedia

Thanks for reading, please ‘share’ using any of the social media buttons below. As usual please feel free to comment or ask questions. In fact – why not make some suggestions for what you’d like to see featured in the deck….? 

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20 thoughts on “Captive Souls Playing Cards – with 50% of sales going to Born Free Foundation

  1. Denise

    I have been thinking of taking the kids to the zoo in our city for so long but have not been able ot make my self do it because of how I feel about captivity. Once it was a baby elephant that died misteriously and then an adult elephant. Animals should be living free in the wild as the wild kratts put it in their cartoon.

    1. Jyl Post author

      Denise it’s so sad when animals in captivity die – particularly when it’s only a baby. The fact is that although I don’t agree with zoos ‘in general’, there are many that actually have really good breeding programmes. This could be where a species is endangered and they are trying to sustain it as best they can. Or maybe even sometimes animals have been rescued from the pet trade (monkeys for example) and they are not fit to be released into the wild. So some zoos and sanctuaries basically try to create the most natural environment for them as possible. In order to raise funds these places have to let spectators in and charge an entrance fee. But they always have the best interests of the animals at heart.

      However a lot of zoos are all about the money….. For example, I don’t see the need for penguins to be in zoos in perhaps hotter climates when their natural habitat is below freezing. Or for cheetahs to be kept in small enclosures. Or elephants to be kept alone in concrete prisons. It’s so sad and unneccesary…. :(

  2. Kat

    This is a awesome product which I think a great many people are going to enjoy. I love your video’s showing how the artists are creating the work. It’s very exciting. When do you think the deck will be finished?

    What are pips and tucks? I know that may seem like a silly question.

    1. Jyl Post author

      Not a silly question at all Kat – I’m actually happy to help people who are just beginning in their interest in playing cards :) Pips are the little symbols on the cards to depict what suit they are (hearts, diamonds, clubs or spades) and the tuck is just the tuckbox – the box the cards come in. The creators are hoping to have the decks printed up and sent out to everyone by Christmas – so there’s an idea for a few pressies! :) Thanks for your questions :)

  3. Kevin

    As soon as I started to read your post I was hooked. What a truly amazing and great idea. A great way to raise money and awareness too. I am definitely going to be buying some of these cards. The art is amazing and I think the concept is a good one. Good job of bringing this project out into the open so more of us become aware of it.

    1. Jyl Post author

      Thank you Kevin for your comment :) I have to admit that when I first saw these cards on Kickstarter I knew I had to do a write-up – I’m a huge animal lover and the whole idea behind them called out to me. I’m glad you like the deck and I do hope you get yourself a deck or two :)

  4. Christina Briggs

    Very awesome and very beautiful. I don’t know how to play card games but looking at these beautiful animals makes me want to learn how just so I can hold them and look at them.

    The drawings are so beautiful they really seem to capture the animals’ heart. And they are very heart warming to me, I have loved animals my whole life and have always been a collector of majestic animal photos. These cards are definitly one of the best ideas to be able to enjoy the beauty of animals.

    1. Jyl Post author

      Thank you Christina. Yes, these drawings are very special and do indeed capture the essence of these majestic animals. I hope you do decide to get yourself a deck from the Kickstarter campaign – just click on any of the links in the post :)

  5. Levi

    This is such a cool campaign, thank you for sharing. I read an interesting article about how wildlife rangers in Malawi have planned to move 500 elephants into a safe haven due to the rife poaching activity in the region. It is so sad that these wonderful creatures can no longer roam about freely in the wild because of the high demand of ivory in Asia. Captive souls is such a great initiative which will go a long way in raising awareness with regards to welfare and well-being of animals globally. The West African Black Rhino is now extinct, however we can still do something about the remaining animals which are still at risk.

    1. Jyl Post author

      You’re so right Levi and thank you for your comment. Man’kind’ simply seems to either have no idea what its doing or doesn’t care. It’s scary and pathetic. I love what they are doing in Malawi – good people doing good deeds. I hope you pledge for a deck or two to help with the cause – good man Levi :):):)

  6. Ronald

    Your post featuring unique playing cards are quite different than what you’d see on store shelves today. Animal lovers will find these very interesting. Seems all the links to your site are working.

    I’m an artist too. I love art! I hope this deck gets funded, it deserves it.

    Great post thank you.

    1. Jyl Post author

      Thank you Ronald – I hope it gets funded too. It’s going to be an amazing deck, and the cause is very close to my own heart too :)

  7. kingmoc

    This has to be one the coolest ideas I’ve recently heard about! As you mentioned in your post – you’re killing two birds with one stone (excuse the pun).

    Bringing awareness about endangered animals and also putting on display someone’s artwork and appreciation for those animals.

    There are three animals I’ve always admired and truly love. Ironically in the released drawings, they hit 2 of 3. They are the lion, orca, and the polar bear. I hope they will include the majestic polar bear!

    Great information and I look forward to the rest of the cards to be revealed. Thanks.

    1. Jyl Post author

      You’re actually in luck! The Polar Bear is indeed being included in the deck and Holly is finalising the drawing as we speak. Once there is a complete drawing, I’ll add it to the post. Thanks :)

  8. HB

    I love this site, I love playing cards too The whole deckt was a great idea about freeing animals, and the concept is awesome, I want a couple of packs, just to support the cause of free animals. Its incredible what we have done to animals over the centuries, now we need more people to develop a great cause.

    Excellent Job, I thoroughly enjoyed it, Thank You

    1. Jyl Post author

      Thanks for your comment. This is the great thing about this deck – in buying it you are also helping a great cause. Let me know if you pledge for a couple of decks :)

  9. Hannah

    What a beautiful set of playing cards. As an animal lover this makes me extremely happy. Animals of all types deserve a lot more appreciation than they currently get. This is a great way of showing just how beautiful they are.

    I like how they cards are supporting Born Free.

    Great post. Every deck of cards I’ve seen on your site so far has been awesome, but this one is special!

    1. Jyl Post author

      Thank you again Hannah :)

      It’s true that for some reason animals seem to be brushed under the rug for many people. But they live and breathe and feel. And to me they are a lot more important than a lot of humans.

      Hannah, you are a brilliant and constant supporter of my site… please send me your email address…?

  10. Hilton

    I’ve always been fascinated by playing cards with interesting designs. There are countless cards with imaginative themes and textures, I’m sure. This one is no different, and it appears to be highly artistic, with the detailed, complicated line work that’s going into those drawings.

    The sad thing about animals in captivity for human entertainment is that people forget that it’s bad because they’re so used to it. We’re desensitized to animals in cages because, so often, that’s how we’re exposed to them.

    It’s an interesting thing to think about though. Aren’t a lot of animals safer in zoos than in the wild? There are some that are endangered who would probably be hunted to death if they were released out in the wilderness, I’d imagine. And the zoo, despite any horrible conditions, if the only thing preventing them from being slaughtered. In that case, is being in a zoo a worse fate than death?

    Is the solution to modify the treatment of animals in zoos or to eliminate zoos altogether? But if we eliminate zoos, how do we protect those creatures from being hunted to death if they were set free?

    1. Jyl Post author

      Hello Hilton and thank you for your fantastic comment and questions :)

      You’re right to ask about the welfare of some animals in zoos as opposed to the wild. I say ‘some’ because, if an animal is endangered, sometimes it is better to take it into a controlled environment to protect not only it itself, but also future generations of the species. Giant Pandas for example. They are so rare in the wild that we NEED to have some in captivity to enable us to have breeding programs and – hopefully – at some point in the future, release them back into the wild instead of them becoming extinct.

      But having say for example Polar Bears or Penguins in a zoo in Spain or Southern California….. well, I don’t really have to make a point here do I….? Common sense tells us that this is not the environment for such animals..

      In the south of England there is a monkey sanctuary called Monkey World. They rescue monkeys of all species from the most horrific situations (mainly the pet trade) and give them sanctuary. Sometimes they breed because the particular species may be endangered. And yes, they do have open days when they charge members of the public to come and have a look at the monkeys that live there. But they properly look after those monkeys, and there is even a TV show documenting the work they do (checkout:

      Basically, sometimes having animals in captivity is not only necessary, but also beneficial to the species. However, I do not see why an elephant needs to be taken from its mother at a few months old and tied up with chains just so that zoo-goers or circus-goers can see it or be entertained by it. It is unnecessary in the extreme. And the cruelty that goes hand in hand with this is unimaginable.

      This deck evokes the questions that we all should be asking anyways. Is it really ok to keep an Orca in a swimming pool for 33 years……? I could go on…..

      Thank you for your questions and your comments Hilton. Hope this helps :)


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