According to Chuck Tompkins, curator of zoological operations for Sea World parks, steps are being taken to get trainers back into the water with Killer Whales, one year after Tilikum, one of the captive Orcas in their Orlando park, killed a trainer (see my blogs in February, 2010). He says that they have spent tens of millions of dollars on safety equipment to protect the trainers, as well as on 'retraining' the Orcas. All this is being done despite findings by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)that Sea World was reckless in allowing humans into the water with the Killer Whales: a finding Sea World is currently fighting.
The tragedy in all this goes far beyond the caring and talented woman who died last year doing what she loved;
-beyond the magnificent creatures doomed to spend foreshortened lives in tiny concrete tanks performing stupid animal tricks;
-beyond the gawking audiences who are either oblivious to, or apathetic about, the physical hardships and mental anguish these animals suffer;
-beyond the employees of these parks who mean well and do not intentionally inflict harm upon their captives;
-beyond the owners and management of these parks who must answer to their shareholders who expect a positive return on their investment;
Sadly, the greatest tragedy in all this is that we as human beings have deceived ourselves into believing that we are the only intelligent, sentient beings on this planet; and that we have the God-given right to do anything we want, whenever we want, to the earth, and to the skies, and to the seas.
As I wrote in my morality tale, 'The Tempest's Roar',"...when we have all been dead ten thousand years, there will be nothing left to mark our passing except barren lands and empty seas; and in between on lonely shores, living stones will cry out in silence the three words that will serve as our collective epitaph; Arrogance, Intolerance and Stupidity."