Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Brutal Facts About Captive Orcas

* The average adult American drives 32 miles a day and is free to travel around the world.
* An adult Orca in the wild can swim 100 miles a day and is free to travel around the world.
* An Orca at Sea World can swim 50 yards across the show tank before having to turn around.

* The area of an average American home is 2,700 square feet.
* The area of the world's oceans is 139 million square miles.
* The minimum area set by the government for a captive Orca's tank is 1,800 square feet, with a diameter of 48 feet. An average adult Orca is 24 feet long. (Proportionally, this is the same size as cells for murderers on death row).

* The average life span for an American is 78 years.
* In the wild, Orcas can live up to 80 years.
* In captivity, Orcas have an average life span of 10 years.

You tell me, is keeping Orcas in captivity cruel and unusual punishment? If you agree that it is, here is what you can do about it:

* First, stop going to Sea World or marine parks like it. And tell two friends to stop, and have them tell two friends. Soon the message will reach thousands of like-minded people.
* Second, express your views on Facebook or YouTube or on any and every forum to anyone who will listen.
* Third, teach your children that to keep intelligent and sentient beings in tiny cement tanks barely twice as long as their bodies, and force them to perform stupid animal tricks for our entertainment is wrong. Just plain wrong.
* Fourth, write your Representative or Senator and ask them to introduce a bill in Congress to outlaw the keeping and breeding of Orcas in captivity. (For those of you outside the U.S. do this with your respective government representatives.)

Releasing captive Orcas into the wild is problematic and most likely a death sentence. As such, those already in captivity are doomed either way. However, if we stop going to Sea World and to all the parks like it; and/or if the government outlaws this inhumane practice, then the owners and management will stop breeding them or buying them. They will be forced to end the shows and allow their captives to live out the rest of their lives in peace. And eventually, in 10 years or so, there will be no Orcas left suffering in cement tanks anywhere in the world.

NOTE: I will be traveling for a few weeks and unable to post. I'll see you on the flip side.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gloomy Update On Captive Orca

My previous posting noted the sad story of a young female Orca captured a year ago in the North Sea and kept in a small cement tank at the Dolfinarium at Harderwijk in Amsterdam ever since. Animal rights activists have brought legal action against the Dolfinarium to prevent them from selling her to an amusement park in Spain and the matter is currently under review by a Dutch court. The Orca was given the name 'Morgan' which means 'from the sea' in old Welsh but it is unlikely she will ever see the ocean again.

Unfortunately, the latest news out of Amsterdam is not good. According to a report by the Dolfinarium's management have still not moved Morgan into a larger tank with other dolphins as ordered by the judge, and New Zealand Orca expert, Dr. Ingrid Visser, believes Morgan's mental state is deteriorating rapidly.

That she might be going insane should not come as a surprise to anyone who cares about these magnificent beings. It is a fate suffered by many other captive Orcas who lead foreshortened lives of mind-numbing boredom, physical distress, and mental anguish at sea parks around the globe.

The harsh reality is that this little Orca's future is dim whether she is released or not, and time is running out...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Captive Orcas: Doomed Either Way...

Pending further study, a court in Amsterdam has blocked the sale of a young female Orca (named Morgan by the Dutch) to a Spanish amusement park but the court stopped short of ordering her to be returned to the North Sea where the then-sick animal was rescued a year ago. While freeing Morgan instead of condemning her to a life sentence in a concrete tank in Spain is a romantic notion, the harsh reality is that this resilient little being is doomed either way.

These are highly social animals: their family group is everything to them; providing food, comfort, and safety, to the exclusion of Orcas from different pods. As such, even if the court rules in favor of Morgan's release, the likelihood of her handlers being able to find her family group is slim: barring that, she has little chance of surviving on her own. Arguably, the alternative is even worse.

Female Orcas can live 80 years in the wild but only 10 years on average in captivity. There are over 40 Killer Whales in marine parks around the globe; two-thirds of these are owned by Sea World. While the Company's management and owners wax eloquent about how their actions have contributed to mankind's knowledge about the species, the truth is that captive Orcas are big business, pure and simple. If millions of people didn't spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year gawking at Orcas as they perform stupid animal tricks, we wonder how quickly Sea World's corporate altruism would fade?

Whether a Killer Whale is captured in the wild and sold into captivity, or born there, they lead foreshortened lives of mind-numbing boredom, physical distress, and emotional anguish. On several occasions, this has led to Orcas killing their trainers as happened at Sea World Orlando last year when a 12,000-pound male named Tilikum attacked his trainer, drowning her. It was the third such death involving this particular animal.

Sadly, Morgan is doomed no matter which way the Dutch court rules. And meanwhile, the owners of Sea World, and all the other marine parks like it around the world, keep raking in the money...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dolphin, Heal Thyself.

"Physician, heal thyself:" Many of you (well, perhaps some of you) are familiar with this proverb spoken by Jesus (Luke 4:23, King James Bible). One interpretation of the full quote in which these words appear is that we should attend to our own failings before criticizing others. (Sadly, this is something that the President and the Congress currently seem oblivious to.) Yet another more literal interpretation is simply that human physicians, while helping others, are often unable to help themselves.

In stark contrast to our own failings as a species, both behavioral and physiological, it appears that dolphins are capable of doing just that. A recent study by a scientist at the Georgetown University Medical Center, as reported by Science Daily (reference below), has indicated that dolphins possess a remarkable ability to quickly heal from serious injuries such as shark bites without suffering infection or significant bleeding, and with apparent indifference to pain. Moreover, as these injuries heal, there is almost complete restoration of their normal body contour.

This is yet another indication of the magic and majesty of dolphins; but even as I say this, the people of Taiji, Japan, are preparing for their annual harvest of dolphins in which they will brutally slaughter 2,000 of these innocent beings. Need I say more about the contrast between our two species?

Reference: Georgetown University Medical Center (2011, July 25). Dolphins' 'remarkable' recovery from injury offers important insights for human healing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2011, from­ /releases/2011/07/110721095834.htm