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Killer whales: It’s time to let them go

By Gary Bogue
Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 7:23 am in Killer whale, Marine mammal, Orca.

Captive killer whale. Photo by Flickr user milan.boers used under a Creative Commons License.
killer whale milan.boers

Marine parks are not going to get rid of their captive killer whales, no matter how many trainers or whales are killed or injured along the way. We need to understand that.

The entertainment parks make way too much money from the public visitors who buy high-priced tickets to see and get splashed and thrilled up close and personal by these enormous marine predators.

Orca pod in Alaska. Photo by Flickr user Rennett Stowe used under a Creative Commons License.
orca pod Rennett Stowe

This was the third time the orca that killed his trainer on Wednesday had been involved in killing a human. Will it happen again? We won’t know that until it happens, but it probably will.

According to Wikipedia, there are presently 42 orcas in captivity in North and South America, Europe and Japan. There have reportedly been 23 attacks by captive orcas on humans over the years.

Wednesday’s attack once again raises the issue of whether these intelligent and social marine mammals, whose natural world is the ocean, should be kept in captivity, jammed into their tiny tanks in solitary confinement.

It’s time to stop parading these huge intelligent beings in front of the world as our pets. We need to return them to the sea where they belong and leave them free to swim and socialize with other orcas as is their nature. Regardless of what they would have you believe, marine parks are not their natural world … the ocean is.

But you and I know it isn’t going to happen. Sad. /Gary

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8 Responses to “Killer whales: It’s time to let them go”

  1. Michelle Pestana Says:

    I couldn’t agree more! PETA gave an excellent analogy – it would be like a human spending their life in a bathtub! How stressed would we be?

  2. Crazy Kev Says:

    Here here….how cruel is it to these magnificent animals to confine them and force them to do performance routines for food rewards. Forcing animals to perform or placing animals in captivity for the pleasure of humans is the height of species arrogance. I think about how sad the captive animals look at the local zoo. They were never meant to be our entertainers! Shame on the animal parks!

  3. Laura Casey Says:

    I think it’s prudent to keep these animals in captivity, for learning and exposure purposes, if they are injured or would not otherwise be able to survive in the wild. I think seeing them live prompts people to care about their welfare more than they would just seeing a film or a photo.
    That being said, keeping healthy animals in captivity, and making them do tricks, is shameful and seems, I don’t know, archaic.

  4. Pat Says:

    I agree 100% Gary. In my opinion, just like with zoos, it’s cruel to keep these creatures captive. You’re right though, with money being the main factor to the captors, they will NEVER be released. Been wondering though, if they ever were, would they be able to survive back in the ocean?

    Pat in Antioch

  5. Linda Schaefer Says:

    I completely agree with your perspective on the Killer Whales. What are these people thinking? And what are the people who financially support these kinds of shows thinking?
    These fabulous creatures need to be released back to the wild where they belong. If the actions of this whale are not indicative of these need….then I wonder WHAT would indicate a need to release? Such craziness!

  6. Chris Says:

    Two hundred years ago, some people justified keeping other people as slaves by saying, “We take care of them. They’re like children.” The question is not whether they can survive in their natural environment. The question is whether anyone has the right to keep them as slaves. This applies to people, orcas, and other animals. I submit that it also applies to the cats and dogs you keep as pets. Pet owners say that their pets are happy and live a cushy life. They say their pampered pets could not survive on their own, or that they would not be as healthy and long-lived. That’s what the slave owners used to say too. That they rescued these people from the jungle, brought them to Christianity, and civilized them. The sad truth is that some people were “civilized” to the point that they completely lost touch with their roots. The sad truth is that some animals have been domesticated to the point that they have no resemblance to their cousins in the wild. The sad truth is that some wild animals have been tamed or confined for so long that they might not survive if they ever escaped or were released.

  7. Curtis Bray Says:

    ean M. Cousteau and Bob Barker speak out against keeping Killer Whales in captivity to entertain the crowds. Jack Hanna defends Sea World. Return Orcas to the Oceans NOW! Sign my petition. I’m putting a link to your website on my blog.

  8. Barbara Says:

    Note to Curtis Bray: I heard the Jack Hanna argument on the news station that I basically don’t fool with any more for other reasons. He emphatically declared that the *purpose* of these locations is to educate kids (and others) about the preservation of wildlife. Personally, I think it is time for the guy to retire.

    An animal spends the entirety of its life confined to “educate” a kid within a 15 mins to 1/2 hour crash course? I don’t buy that. Once out of sight, it’s out of mind. Kids venture on to other things.

    Now we’re in a bit of a quandary, for we can’t just release those that have been in captivity for so many years. They have been fed, and are used to humans; they can’t just be told to “Go … Be free!”

    What we are doing with regard to zoos, marine worlds, and other things does have to be re-evaluated. We have legislators. Let’s put them to work.

    Phasing out these places, and turning them into wildlife refuges in the interim, (accessible by biologists, veterinarians and animal care activists — with no sideshows), I’ll understand.

    But we can’t totally throw the prisoners into the wild. It simply becomes animal cruelty from a whole nother perspective.

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