Retire the Orcas
Retire the Orcas Since the day I watched the Little Mermaid on VHS, I have been in love with sea animals.
Growing up as a kid in California, I learned about the ocean and all the mysterious creatures that lived under the sea from above. When I was just four years old, my parents took me to San Diego’s Sea World. I was mesmerized by the orca show. I even bought Shamu fuzzy socks and wore them around until the holes were too big to mend. Little did I know, I was contributing to the unethical treatment of the beautiful orcas. When I turned twelve years old, I became Advanced Open-Water Scuba certified.
I dove deep into the ocean and explored many curiosities. A few years ago, while traveling in Mexico, I had the opportunity to scuba dive with migrating whale sharks. The enormous animals were so peaceful and free. This was the moment I discovered that large sea animals like whales do not belong in captivity. The fact is that orcas are being abusively held in small concrete pools which is plain and simple unethical.
The killer whale’s cry for help is silenced by Sea World’s greed and immoral practices. We as the consumers need to stand up for the beautiful creatures that remain voiceless. The retirement of orcas is vital because they deserve to live their lives in the ocean where they are free. There are still countless possibilities to learn more and interact with killer whales that do not torture them in the process. According to the organization “SeaWorld of Hurt”, the orcas in captivity are often subject to brutal wounds with no proper medical attention. The orcas will often cut themselves on the sides of gates or railing trying to escape.
Sometimes other whales in the tank will gang up on other whales and attack them, leaving them with huge gashes. Their wounds are often left open and usually ignored by workers because “the show must go on”. If that was not enough, orcas in captivity also suffer from improper diets and premature death due to the poor conditions they live in (“8 Reasons”). In an interview with James McWilliam of “The Dodo”, Dr. Naomi Rose revealed some very disturbing truths about orcas in captivity.
Dr. Rose explained that according to the records of Seaworld, “at least 10 (orcas) have been involved in interactions that resulted in people’s injuries or deaths” (McWilliams).Just like humans, the orcas suffer from stress and aggravated emotions after being confined to small spaces for long periods of time (Rose). These frustrations then sometimes cause acts of aggression towards human trainers. This is not to say that it is the animal’s fault. In fact, it is really the fault of the captivators for leaving the orcas in such poor circumstances.
In addition to these scary truths, a panel discussion with several scientists and professionals summarized by a professional, A. Mel Cosentino, uncovered that there is truly no scientific benefit to having killer whales in captivity. The social behaviors, eating habits, and physicality of the orcas in captivity are significantly different from whales in the wild (Keller). Almost all studies prove that there is no correlation between whale data recorded in aquariums or marine parks versus data collected in the field. With this said, the only reason killer whales are put through the abuse and trauma of captivity is for the entertainment of the consumer. The most logical way to retire killer whales, according to scientists, is to free them into sea pens.
In these protected areas in the ocean, the orcas can swim freely and feel the natural motion of the ocean. This will protect them because they have been in captivity so long and lost their natural defense abilities (Ziv). It is important to remember that the freeing of killer whales in captivity is not an end to human interaction, discovery and research with orcas. It is actually more effective to study orcas in the wild. Also, people will stillhave opportunities to see orcas in the wild in a more humane and ethical setting. Even today there are whale watching tours that are significantly less disruptive to the animal’s natural livelihood.
The treatment and circumstances for orcas in captivity is simply wrong. We as the people who are the target audience for Seaworld can send a powerful message to the corporation. Our voices matter. To get involved with the cause you can boycott aquariums or marine parks that still keep killer whales in captivity. You can also sign the petition to retire Tilikum at www.freetilly.
org. Join the millions that also believe that whales should live in the ocean, not concrete pools. Word Count: 784 Work Cited Keller, Jacob B. “NHLBI Workshop Panel Discussion: A Scientific Perspective.” Public Health Reports (1974-) (2013): 71-73.
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Web. 23 Oct. 2016. Rose, Naomi A. “A Win-Win Solution for Captive Orcas and Marine Theme Parks.” CNN.
Cable News Network, 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 23 Oct. 2016. Ziv, Stav.
“How to Retire a Captive Orca.” Newsweek. N.p., 01 May 2016.
Web. 23 Oct. 2016. “8 Reasons Orcas Don’t Belong at SeaWorld.” SeaWorld of Hurt- Where Happiness Tanks. PETA, n.
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