The tragic death of a trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, yesterday is a brutal reminder of what can happen when a wild creature that is free to swim through all the oceans of the world is captured and placed in the narrow confines of a concrete tank, where it is doomed to spend the rest of its life performing stupid tricks for human amusement. May God be with that woman’s family and friends. Below is a posting from last November that bears repeating on this sad occasion:
The next time you and your family go to a marine park to gaze and gawk at the Orcas as they are made to perform demeaning tricks, I want you to remember this. The average life span of Orcas in the wild is forty years, and females can live well into their seventies and eighties. Now contrast this with the following fact: the average life expectancy in captivity of an Orca captured in the wild is less than six years. Yes, you read that correctly—six years! And for Orcas born in captivity, it is not much longer. The only blessing for the latter group is that they at least have never known the joy of freedom. Add to this disturbing statistic the fact that of the nearly two hundred Orcas held captive in man’s liquid prisons since 1964, less than one third lived longer than ten years, and only forty-one are alive today. If there is any shred of decency in you, how can you interpret these facts as anything but spectacular cruelty?