As a child, I was thrilled and filled with excitement when I visited Sea World with my family, or a friend’s family. The main attraction for me: To watch “Shamu the Killer Whale” performing tricks with her trainers in a gigantic pool. If I was lucky enough to get a front seat, I could get soaked when the whales were directed to throw water at the crowd using their fins.
It was not hard to be seduced by the spectacular show. It was a lively event with what I perceived as a strong connection between humans and huge marine mammals. Most mesmerizing in my young mind was the intelligence of these wild creatures. It was breathtaking.
Starting in 2017, however, children of future generations will be deprived of witnessing that same spectacular interaction between humans and “killer whales” (which are actually a species of dolphin) in theatrical shows at Sea World in California.
As National Geographic reported, the Orca Protection and Safety Act – authored by California Assembly member Richard Bloom – was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday, Sept. 13. The Act not only bans the breeding of orcas in captivity, but also the circus-like shows these majestic creatures have been forced to repeatedly perform for public amusement.
Although the term “deprived” is technically correct, it sounds like a bad thing. It is far from it. In 2013, Blackfish exposed the dark side of Sea World’s very profitable venture that for several decades attracted huge crowds.
From a humane perspective, one doesn’t need to be a marine biologist, wildlife biologist, or zoologist to know that a marine creature weighing several tons, forced to live in captivity in an environment analogous to a bathtub filled with chlorinated water with several others of his or her kind, is unnatural. It is inhumane. It is wrong.
SeaWorldofHurt details 8 reasons why forcing these beautiful, intelligent, sentient beings to live their lives in an unnatural environment is wrong, including:
- Their life span is decades less – up to 50 years for females – than their wild counterparts.
- They suffer psychological stress having to live in an unnatural environment.
- There is “no space in which to swim freely and are fed an unnatural diet of thawed dead fish.”
- The small tanks cannot accommodate the distance they would travel on a daily basis in the wild.
- Having to live in a confined environment results in fights amongst each other, which, according to SeaworldofHurt, would not occur in the wild.
- As predators, they are unable to hunt for and eat prey that comprise their natural diet in the wild.
- As wild animals, they are desperate to break out of the man-made structure that keeps them prisoners, resulting in serious and painful dental injuries.
- Lastly, “orcas are forced to live with orcas from other family units who speak a completely different language than they do and are constantly moved between facilities for breeding and to perform.”
Is depriving our future generations from witnessing the awe-striking, glorious theatrical performances between man and marine beasts a bad thing? No. Like circuses that keep elephants, wild big cats and bears in captivity, and who are often abused and forced to perform unnatural acts, Sea World is no different.
Children from future generations will be saved from later having to face the reality that these shows were not all they appear to be. Future generations will be saved from having to witness humans use animals to attract large crowds for profit.
Children will learn from an early age that wild animals belong in the wild to serve their purpose in our complicated and fragile ecosystem. They will understand that to take wild animals out of their natural habitat and forced to live a captive life to entertain, or as a pet, is inhumane. A paws.org put it:
No matter how well designed a captive habitat may be, it can never replicate the freedom that wild animals require to be complete beings. A permanently captive wild animal is doomed to a life of confusion and stress as he attempts to reconcile instinctual urges with foreign surroundings. Wild animals belong in the wild.