Half a century ago in 1964, the first orcinus orca or killer whale was captured and put on display (Rose 1). Today, there are forty-five orcas in captivity with about half being born in confinement (“Killer Whales in Captivity”). Orcas are tremendously intelligent, socially complex, and family oriented animals. Studying them in captivity, and at the same time in the wild, we have learned enough about them to realize that orcinus orcas do not belong in captivity and the confinement of these animals is very hurtful. The imprisonment of orcas for human amusement and research leads to aggression, death at an early age and numerous health problems.
Orcas exhibit aberrant and aggressive behavior in captivity. Aggression towards each other occurs a great deal because, “incompatibility among captive whales is frequent” (Rose 7). It is difficult for captive whales to escape when being attacked by another in the tight space provided. This leads to lacerations, deep wounds and even the death of whales (Rose 7). Just because they are the same species does not mean they necessarily get along. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states on its Orca fact sheet, “Killer whales are social animals that live in stable family-related groups”. In captivity the whales are put in artificial social groups and moved around depending on how the management department wants to group the whales, not thinking about how the animals will get alon...
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Blackfish. Dir. Gabriela Cowperthwaite and Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Prod. Manuel V. Oteyza and Gabriela Cowperthwaite. By Eli Despres and Tim Zimmermann. Perf. Former SeaWorld Trainers. 2013. DVD. Netflix. Web.
"Killer Whales in Captivity." National Marine Mammal Laboratory. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2014.
Reza, H.G, and Greg Johnson. "Killer Whale Bled to Death After Breaking Jaw in Fight." Los Angeles Times. Ed. Anthony Millican and Chris Kraul. Los Angeles Times, 23 Aug. 1989. Web. 23 Jan. 2014.
Rose, Naomi 2011. Killer Controversy: Why Orcas Should No Longer Be Kept in Captivity. Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States, Washington, D.C. 16 pp.
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