I am very disheartened by marine mammals being held in captivity. I’m sure you are all aware of the tragic death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in Orlando, Florida on February 24, 2010. I don’t believe Dawn Brancheau’s death will be in vain, as I do believe something very good could come from this tragic incident. There is no doubt Dawn loved these magnificent creatures, and she took very good care of them. However, her death should make us all stop and think what we are doing by condoning the captivity of these beautiful creatures.
I am a big animal lover, and in 2009, I was in Orlando at Discovery Cove, sister partner of SeaWorld, swimming with the dolphins. I am now ashamed I even did such a thing as dolphins should not be held in captivity either. No animal for that matter should be held in captivity. I always felt that animals were safer in captivity, because that is what these franchises such as SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, etc. would have you believe. Someone pointed out to me, that whales and dolphins swim in pods their entire lives, I never knew this, and I never realized that whale/dolphin capture methods are so invasive, stressful, and many times lethal for these beautiful creatures. It violently disrupts the social group, splits up families, and snatches individual animals from the water, to never see each other again. Also, that their captivity is educational and conservational. Here is the truth; there is nothing educational or conservational about watching a whale or dolphin do endless tiring tricks all day long to “entertain” the public. It is purely entertainment and money driven. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that gets rich off the misery of these captive mammals. After I did my research, and after the tragedy on February 24th where the whale trainer was killed, it just put it all into prospective that captivity is WRONG.
The link above will tell you all about how horrific live captures are for these mammals, and page 5 will begin about live captures.
After their captured, if they survive it, they go on to live out the rest of their lives in misery. Captivity is nothing like living in the ocean, not even close. The tanks have been compared to the whales/dolphins living in bathtubs. These mammals sometimes swim up to 100 miles a day in straight lines, and now they are forced to swim in circles. Whales and dolphins are “voluntary breathers”, conscious of every breath they take, their always swimming, even when they “sleep”. So, it is difficult to imagine the tragedy of life in no more than a tiny swimming pool. This environment is totally foreign to them as they have to put up with artificial diets, unusual noise, chemically treated water; they no longer have free will, reduced life expectancy and breeding problems. The unnatural situation can cause skin problems, and for the killer whales, it is the probable cause of dorsal fin collapse. They are also forced to basically perform tricks all day for entertainment purposes.
Two other sites I’d like to share with you all are
international.org/latestnews/2010/wspa_condemns_seaworld.aspx <from the World Society for the Protection of Animals
Mr. Jack Hanna appeared on Larry King Live on March 1st, advocating for SeaWorld. He tried to compare what we’ve learned about whales, by comparing them to the astronauts and what we’ve learned about space. What he is lacking to understand, is these astronauts chose to go into space. People have the choice; animals however, do not. These whales and dolphins were not asked if they wanted to go and live at SeaWorld and become performers. I highly doubt any animal would prefer a pool tank verses the ocean.
Things we as a society can do. Don’t attend facilities that hold whales and dolphins, spread the word, write to your local and national government asking for better legislation for whales and dolphins – see www.wdcs.org/captivity
Someone once told me that I’m just one person, and that I couldn’t make a difference. Well, if I changed one mind, or made one person give SeaWorld a second look, or made one person go online and investigate themselves how these mammals are captured out of the ocean, and what they endure the rest of their lives while in captivity, well then, I did make a difference.