Animal Rights and the Orca

– – In the aftermath of a veteran SeaWorld trainer’s death in Orlando, animal rights activists are questioning whether marine mammals, especially large predators, belong in captivity.

The people who run theme parks, after all, are first and foremost interested in making money; conservation and protection are at best secondary interests.  An orca’s life in captivity in a tank has been compared to keeping a human being in a bathtub for his entire life.   Such captivity causes stress, and stressed-out whales are more likely to injure or kill people.  We tend to think of such whales as “bad animals” when in reality they are wild animals, used to running free in an entire ocean but now confined to what is to them a very small space.

Most Americans have romanticized, artificial notions of sea life perpetuated by such shows as Flipper; the reality is quite different.  Some animal rights organizations like The Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Legal Defense Fund feel that it’s high time for the marine park industry to get out of the captive orca business…

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3 Comments on “Animal Rights and the Orca”

  1. carycomic Says:

    This another one of those gray issues I mentioned in an earlier article. Most of the orcas that might be potentially set free are actually captive-born. Second or third generation, at least! To set them free, willy-nilly, would do them more harm than good.

    Methinks a joint task force–made up of people from Seaworld, ADLF, and similarly concerned organizations–should get together and discuss a “Born Free” type of training project for captive-born cetaceans.

    • vulpesffb Says:

      Wasn’t “Willy-Nilly” the undistinguished sibling of the orca featured in the 1993 film, “Free Willy?”

  2. carycomic Says:

    Ha! Good catch. You should have heard the unintentional pun that I caught on this morning’s Animal Planet episode of “Big Cat Diary.”

    This female English zoologist is tracking a pregnant female leopard. So, as the jeep she and her cameraman are being chauffered in rolls along, she turns to the camera and says (completely straight-faced):

    “We are headed for the waterhole where THE LEOPARD WAS SPOTTED.”

    I laughed my head off for the next two minutes.


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