Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Dawn whale Tilikum. Dawn was dragged into

Dawn Brancheau, a former SeaWorld trainer died at SeaWorld during an Orca show after being dismembered by the killer whale Tilikum. Dawn was dragged into the water by the killer whale and swung around the pool causing her a fractured vertebra and jaw, and also causing her to dislocate her knee and elbow. The killer whale drowned Dawn and swung her so hard that he ripped her scalp off of her head, and ripped her arm off her body (Mooney). Tilikum had shown aggressive behavior to other trainers and since this incident has killed two other people (BlackFish).  Regardless of their knowledge of Tilikum’s aggressive nature, the park decided to continue using him, as he was the best Killer Whale breeder the park had. Similarly to Tilikum, a majority of the other orcas at SeaWorld have acted aggressively towards humans, however, killer whales in the wild don’t usually show aggressive behavior. This is because being in such a small tank all day causes them to become aggressive and frustrated and leads to them taking it out on their trainers as well as other orcas (Schelling).How SeaWorld Gets Its Killer WhalesSeaWorld claims that they rescue their killer whales but many of the killer whales at SeaWorld were actually captured and taken away from their families at a young age, and forced to breed. Since capturing orcas can be very difficult many of the young orcas end up dying (BlackFish). While Orcas at SeaWorld are no longer being bred many of the other Sea mammals are still forced to breed at young ages which is dangerous to both the mother and the calf. There have been incidents of the mothers killing their own calf because they are not yet mature enough and do not know how to care for a calf (Schelling).Why Captivity Is Harmful To Sea MammalsOrcas have one of the “second biggest brains of all sea mammals” (Spear). As neurologist and expert in animal behavior, Lori Marino mentions “what you see in the orca brain is an elaboration on the limbic area that the human brain doesn’t have” (qtd.Rutkin). The limbic area is the part of the brain that is responsible for emotions and behavior. this implies that Orcas have a “wider range of emotions” than humans (Rutkin). It’s not surprising that Orcas end up killing humans since having such an intelligent animal in such a small tank when they are used to swimming 100 miles a day is the equivalent to “keeping a human in a bathtub” for their entire life (blackfish). The Sea mammals at SeaWorld also experience other harmful behaviors in captivity such as having shorter lives. SeaWorld claims that the Orcas at SeaWorld live longer in captivity because they are given veterinary care, but this is not true. Orcas in the wild usually live for up to fifty years while in captivity they only live about nine to thirteen years. Orcas in captivity also fight with each other. The fights get so bad that trainers would find pieces of the Orcas skin at the bottom of the pool and in some cases, the whales end up killing each other (Magee). SeaWorld Hiding the TruthSeaWorld will do almost anything to keep their reputation high in fear of getting shut down. SeaWorld has lied to its trainers and has also lied about the death of their own trainers so they would have to take the blame for it. I mentioned earlier in the article the death of  Dawn Brancheau, SeaWorld tried to say that the whale Tilikum, that killed her was not an aggressive whale and ended up blaming the death on Dawn because she had her hair in a ponytail instead of a bun, even though Tilikum actually pulled her in by the arm (Worrall). SeaWorld also lies to their trainers by not telling them how dangerous orcas can be. Former trainer, Samantha bergs claim that SeaWorld never mentioned to her any of the killer whale incidents “70-plus, maybe even more, just killer whale trainer accidents. Maybe 30 of them happened prior to me actually being hired at SeaWorld. And I knew about none of them” (Blackfish). SeaWorld has been trying to keep the public in the dark about all this because since incidents like these are what caused another marine park named Sea Land to close down. In fear of having evidence of aggressive Orcas Former employee at SeaWorld, Jeffrey Ventre was told by the company to destroy one of the tapes of the orcas shows because in part of the tape one of the killer whales lunged at the trainer. Even after cutting that part of the film out he was still told to destroy the entire tape (Blackfish).Solutions To This Problem    After being in captivity Sea mammals can never go back into the ocean again simply because they will not be able to survive. Most of the animals at SeaWorld were bred there and have been at SeaWorld their entire lives. They are all used to being hand fed and wouldn’t know how to get food in the wild if they were to be released. They also have never encountered a predator since they have been living in a tank their entire lives so if they were to encounter one in the ocean they wouldn’t know how to react and would most likely end up being killed. In 2003 Oregon Coast Aquarium released the captive Killer whale Keiko into the ocean, who was the whale that starred in the movie Free Willy. Even after being released Keiko was still very dependent on humans and would usually swim up to boats to try and get human help. Because of this, he didn’t know how to interact with the other orcas or catch his own food in the wild. This resulted in Keiko catching pneumonia and dying after only five years of being in the wild. So since Killer whales and other sea mammals cant be released back into the ocean this means that the captive Sea mammals will have to spend the rest of their lives in captivity. There is one solution that has been suggested for this and it is putting the remaining Orcas into Sea Sanctuaries (Newkirk). Sea sanctuaries are a large enclosed area in the ocean much larger than a SeaWorld tank. The Sea mammals will be able to swim, dive, catch their own food and learn how to live in the ocean again with other marine animals while still having help from humans (Ziv). While Sea Sanctuaries for these whales is the best solution it doesn’t seem like it will be possible for these animals since SeaWorld has refused to talk about this solution when aked by different animal rights activists and organizations (Ziv).Why This Is Still Happening While it is definitely SeaWorlds fault that Orcas are being exploited and used as entertainment it is also the consumer’s fault. Even though the consumers aren’t directly abusing the animals they are giving SeaWorld the money they need to continue having these sea animals in captivity so they are still responsible for this issue. People are still going to SeaWorld because of a few different reasons the first being that they might not even know about the fact that many of the animals are being exploited for money, and probably believe SeaWorld is helping sea mammals since SeaWorld does such a good job of getting rid of any evidence of them mistreating their animals and also claims to be saving and protecting sea mammals. Another reason is that people are trying to justify this abuse so they can continue going to SeaWorld to get entertainment. Some people actually justify animal abuse by using religion. A common argument is that Humans are superior to animals and therefore can treat them how they want because in the Bible, it says “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground”. Many people use this to justify abusing animals. The Bible does state that we rule over the animals but it doesn’t make it okay to abuse animals for our personal gain but people still use this as an excuse to continue participating and watching activities where animals are abused such as bullfighting. Thing have actually been getting better at SeaWorld recently for the sea mammals. However, this isn’t because SeaWorld actually wants better for Orcas its mainly due to the fact that Orca breeding and theatrical shows with Orcas were outlawed in California in the fall of 2016 (Newkirk). But if it were still legal to do we can assume that SeaWorld would still be breeding Orcas and doing the Shamu show because they still breed their other sea mammals such as dolphins and beluga whales, and even though the theatrical shows were outlawed SeaWorld still has Orcas shows.  They now have a show that is supposed to show more of the Orcas natural behaviors which in untrue since none of the tricks performed by the orcas are actually natural (O’barry). It isn’t likely that SeaWorld will ever put their remaining sea mammals into sea sanctuaries because they really don’t care about the fact that they are in bad condition, and it’s going to be very difficult to convince SeaWorld to stop exploiting their animals, but what we as consumers can do is think about where we’re getting entertainment from and make sure that no one is having to suffer to provide us entertainment to keep situations like the SeaWorld one from happening again.


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