Animal Rights And Issues

The Effect Captivity has on Whales

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"The Effect Captivity has on Whales"
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Killer whales are the largest members of the dolphin family.  By patronizing places like Sea World where killer whales and dolphins are held captive, people are contributing to the brutal slaughter of thousands of dolphins every year.  Not only is the emotional and mental health of the captive animal effected negatively but the physical health of the species is too. Killer whales in captivity are more dangerous to humans than killer whales in the wild.  The dolphin and killer whale populations have already been affected by those seeking to exploit them in the wild,   Killer whales in captivity do not successfully breed well, or live as long as they do in the wild. 

In recent news we have all heard about the tragic death of one of Orlando's veteran trainers which occurred when she ended up getting too close to the parks (and the worlds) largest captive killer whale a 14,000 pound male the parks use as a breeder.  Officials at Sea World, would like to have the public believe that this was not an act of aggression on the animal's part, but an error that was made by the trainer herself due to her long ponytail.  Experts on killer whale behavior say that this is ridiculous explanation made by those who are in the business to make money by captivating audiences with captive killer whales.  This particular killer whale has claimed three human lives since it was captured as a 4 year old by fishermen in New Zealand.  The first victim was a 20 year old trainer that had fallen in his tank.  Co-workers who tried to hand her a line to pull her to safety said the whale would not allow it, playing keep away with them.  He took her body to the bottom of the pool and after two hours the park had to use a net to recover the drowned girl.  The second victim was a patron at Orlando's Sea World, who for reasons unknown decided to hide out until the park closed and get into the tank with the mammals.  When officials arrived to work the next day the man was draped over the killer whales body, dead, a pair of swimming trunks were in the pool but the man was naked.  The third death was the recent one where the trainer was standing on a shallow platform adjacent to the tank getting fish to give him when he did the tricks she was showing him to do, shaking his head from side to side was the trick that led to her demise, according to park officials she swung her head and her pony tail was in reach of his mouth.  They would have you believe that had she not had long hair in a pony tail she'd still be alive today.

Killer whales in the wild have never killed a human.  There have been numerous fatal encounters with those kept in captivity though.  The reason is the killer whales are stressed out, mentally.  Physically they are kept in what would be the equivalent to you and I as a bathtub.  They live, eat, and make waste in the same little cramped quarters for their entire life.  It is true that the animals are smart.  This is why they are so sought after.  They are easy to train and they make the park owners millions of dollars in revenue as the star attraction.  But being intelligent can have its drawbacks in that the whales know that they have it bad.  Much like a human being they become bored, irritated, and neurotic at being confined.  The environment they are confined too is so much different to the environment nature intended for them.  In the open ocean the whales and dolphins swim over a hundred miles a day in the company of family members.  There is a pod in Washington state that has a whale estimated to be over 90 years old, she swims with her son and grandchildren and great grand children.  The younger whales do the hunting in which they herd fish so that the older members can eat.  These animals are very social and very dependent on their families or pods throughout their lifetimes.  In the parks they are fed dead fish, probably about as appetizing to them as live fish would be to human beings.  The fact they even eat them is proof to the claims that the parks keep them in a state of hunger so that they can be enticed to perform for handouts.  Another practice that makes the whales more social with trainers during shows, is to keep them isolated from other whales while they are not performing.   This is a a very cruel thing to do to any social animal.  Imagine being kept under these conditions for a life time, when its in your very nature to live the opposite of the way you are being forced too.  It should be expected that from time to time these creatures will decide to act out the frustration and the aggression that they must experience from the way that they are treated by human beings on human beings. 

To keep a wild animal in captivity solely for financial gain is wrong and it is detrimental to the animals psyche.  Sea World claims that the captive whales offer scientists valuable information and provide education to the public.  This is poppycock.  The scientific community disagrees with this unless they are on Sea World's payroll.  As a great white shark enthusiast who has never had the opportunity to see one other than in books or film, I would confidently match my knowledge of the fish with any marine biologist or specialist in great white sharks.  I am not a marine biologist, I have no formal education on them, except that after seeing the film Blue Water White Death at the age of 4 years old I have been fascinated by them and have read every thing I could get my hands on about them.  I consider myself very well informed and knowledgeable on great white sharks without ever laying eyes on one.  People who are interested can educate themselves without paying to watch killer whales balance a ball on their nose in exchange for fish.  This is not valuable information on anything but a killer whale turned circus clown by those who are out to make a quick buck.

More about this author: Lee Stratton

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