Monday, June 13, 2011

Orcas In Death Row Cells

As reported by Margaret Munro of Post Media News, in late 2009 a Canadian biologist was able to place a satellite tracking device on the dorsal fin of an Orca off the Admiralty Island in the Canadian Arctic. That autumn, the Orca was tracked as it swam from the Arctic to the Azores in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, a distance of 5,400 kilometres. Similarly, Killer Whales in the Pacific have been known to swim from Alaska to California. These impressive journeys are an indication of the freedom of the seas that Orcas in the wild enjoy.

In stark contrast, the show tank in which SeaWorld Orlando makes its Orcas perform stupid animal tricks measures approximately 45 metres across. And the tanks where they keep these huge members of the dolphin family when they are not performing are less than half that size, some even smaller. SeaWorld will tell you that these tanks exceed the minimum requirement set by the USDA, which is 14.6 metres (as if that is something to be proud of). Tillikum, the adult male Orca who killed his trainer last year at SeaWorld Orlando, and who had been implicated earlier in the deaths of two other humans, is 7 metres in length: how long do you think it takes him to reach the far side of his tank? Could this be a factor in his mental torment and lethal behavior?

Ironically, it is interesting to note that the government's space requirement for captive Orcas is proportionately the same as the penal system allots to prisoners on death row. To keep these magnificent, intelligent, and sentient beings in tiny concrete prison cells constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and should be banned. Unless and until the government does something about it, you can help by boycotting SeaWorld Orlando, and all other parks like it.

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