Ivy L.

Never off the Hook

In one of the newest Seaworld commercials, they claim that their whales are thriving, that they are cared for, and that they live just as long as they would in the wild, but in fact they don't even live half the length they could, and they are not thriving, they are slowly dying. Maybe Seaworld does care about these whales and their health, but if they really wanted to help these animals they would set let them free to live with their family; they would let them be free. There are so many consequences: the whales physical health, mental health, and the safety of humans, all being risked for entertainment.  

In captivity, whales can develop many health issues and injuries that wouldn't have occurred in the wild. Orcas are contained in tanks that to them is the size of a bathtub, sometimes kept with up to three other whales, where they have no room to swim away from the others and often resort to clashing heads. Not only is fighting a consequence with these small tanks, but wounds such as whales purposefully bashing their heads against the walls, and biting into metal bars and breaking their teeth are very common too. “Orcas in the wild have an average life expectancy of 30 to 50 years—their estimated maximum lifespan is 60 to 70 years for males and 80 to over 100 for females. The median age of orcas in captivity is only 9, and orcas at SeaWorld rarely make it even to the average life expectancy of their wild cousins.”  (Free Morgan Foundation n.p.) Not only is the size of their cages a huge cause of suffering for these mammals, but the everyday diet of gelatin made from pig and cow bone, which will cause the orcas to become dehydrated. Whales can consume up to 80 pounds of it a day. There has been at least 160 orca whale deaths documented since 1961. Most from diseases that wouldn't even have been a concern in the wild. Others die from miscarriages and stillbirths caused by the whales being injected with semen, instead of naturally mating.

Just like humans, orcas can develop mental illnesses such as depression and PTSD, which can cause them to stop eating and act out in ways they normally wouldn’t. After being taken from their homes and families, and brought to a place all alone without any kind of reflection of their families, whales can also be overtaken by anxiety. Baby whales are taken from their mothers and forced into slings and nets, while their mothers and the males of the pod scream and fight to get them back. They never see them again. “Their frantic cries reverberated over the cove and were heard for miles. The squeals, clicks and shrills were so disturbing and deafening that Dr. Newby says that. HE CAN STILL HEAR THEIR SCREAMS TODAY.”  ( Dr. Newby n.p.) Not only do whales hurt themselves and humans when they are captured, but they can resort to hurting each other as well. The anxiety of losing their families and their homes, can cause them so turn on eachother. And when stuffed into minuscule tanks, there is no room to get away from any other whales, and so when a fight begins to emerge there's rarely anyway it can be stopped. Thus causing more tension and anger inside of the whales, making their Seaworld stay even more painful.

Orca attacks almost always happen in captivity. There is only one documented human attack occurring in the wild. Orcas are made to be fast, sharp tooth predators. But they don't want anything to do with humans. Orca whales are not supposed to be even close to humans, so when you put a killer whale and a trainer in an enclosed space together, things aren't going to go smoothly. There has at least been 141 orca attacks since 1961, most of these attacks weren't fatal, not even harmful. Many of these so called attacks were orcas getting a little to playful or worked up with their trainer, and not meaning any harm. But others were full of anger and revenge towards their captors. “In the wild, despite centuries of sharing the ocean, there has been only a single reliable report of an orca harming a human being. Because of the stress involved in being deprived of everything that is natural and important to orcas in captivity, orcas have attacked and killed three humans just since 1991 and many others have been injured.” ( Free Morgan Foundation n.p.) After being taken from their families, homes, and kept in tanks the size of bathtubs, these great mammals can build up all kinds of emotions and occasionally will take it out on their closest trainer. Killer whales are meant to kill, and they will. And humans shouldn't be anywhere close enough to become a next meal.

Orcas should not be used for entertainment. They are intelligent animals that have families, homes, and lives that should be determined by the amount of fish in the sea. Not determined by the water in their tank, and the food they are feed. Let these animals be free.