English 9HP, Period 4
When I was six years old, my parents took me to SeaWorld for the first time. I remember clearly watching the Shamu show and sitting in the splash zone ending up soaked in water by the end. But I also distinctly remember wondering how an animal so big and beautiful could ever be happy in such a small tank, so far away from home. The animals could never possibly experience the joy they would out in the wild where they belonged. And even a six year old wasn’t blind to that fact.
The issue of keeping Orcas in captivity and under the care of man has been a controversial practice ever since the first dolphins and whales were taken into aquariums for the amusement of humans. In more recent times, the documentary Blackfish (which has been recently broadcasted on popular TV stations such as CNN) that focuses on Tilikum, an orca held by SeaWorld, has brought to light the controversy over captive killer whales. Orcas are majestic, beautiful, and intelligent creatures that should not be kept in captivity for our entertainment because of the harm it causes them.
SeaWorld a leader in the captivity and use of killer whales for entertainment has counterattacked the points made by the documentary Blackfish, which brought many points to light. For example, SeaWorld asserts “that while research suggests that some wild killer whales can live as long as 60 to 70 years, their average lifespan is nowhere near that,” (source). In the wild, average lifespan is 30 for males, 50 for females, and can live up to be 80-90 years old. In captivity, in such environments as those at SeaWorld, most orcas die in their teens or 20s and only a handful survive past 25. The annual mortality or death rate for orcas is 2.5 times higher ...
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... aggression towards Orca’s trainers has been increasing rapidly over the past few years.
Going back to the first incident I mentioned, I'm reminded of comedian Chris Rock's response to the time that a trained big cat attacked one half of Siegfried and Roy: "That tiger didn't go crazy -- that tiger went tiger."
"Blackfish" might not make an airtight case against training wild animals for our enjoyment, but it very convincingly argues that those animals remain what they are, no matter how SeaWorld or any other corporation invested in presenting them as cuddly attractions tries to say otherwise.
We might constrain nature for our enjoyment -- but sometimes, the show's going to have blood in the water.
Although SeaWorld presents itself as a family establishment full of fun “educational” activities. However, these activities harm animals physically and emotionally.