The Cruel Treatment of Dolphins and Whales in SeaWorld

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SeaWorld has announced terminate its orca breeding program in 2016 (CBS News, 2017). With the death of Tilikum and the last baby killer whale, Kyara, the number of orcas live in captivity will reduce. The first was built in San Diego, California, and was opened to the public in 1964 ( History of SeaWorld, n.d.). There are different animals show in SeaWoeld such as orcas, dolphins, sea lions, and It attracted 400,000 visitors in its first year.( History of Seaworld, n.d.) With the development of the sea world, the health problems of animals are gradually looming. Until now, 63 killer whales are in captivity in SeaWorld facilities, and half of them born in captivity (Martin et al. 2019). There are many killer whales die in SeaWorld and the killer whales’ life span is much shorter than in wild. Moreover, SeaWorld ‘s integrity and security are questioned in recent years. Clearly, Being kept by a dishonest company and performing in an unnatural and unhealthy environment can be very damaging to orcas so killer whales should not be used for entertainment at SeaWorld.

Despite SeaWorld’s declaration that they are committed to protecting, rescuing and studying animals and that they have helped 28,000 animals (White, 2017), their integrity and cruel behaviour have been seriously questioned in recent years. People start losing trust in the SeaWorld because SeaWorld engages in many activities that are contrary to what they promise the public and the action they do is cruel. Taiji drive hunts use brutal method to hunt dolphin that let them die slowly and painfully and drown into their blood (Curry, 2019). Seaworld accuses Taiji cruel action and declares they don’t buy animals from Taiji. However, a number of SeaWorld trainers participate in the Taiji drive hunt(Huey, 2016). Also, the US Marine Mammal Inventory Report (MMIR) record SeaWorld and some other organizations have imported live cetaceans in Japan in the past (Vail, Risch, & Williamson,2006). SeaWorld is a Taiji accomplice because they support and connive Taiji drive hunting develop in some ways that lead animals to injure. Moreover, SeaWorld has a polluted environment for a couple times, even though they are an influential environmental organization. For example, SeaWorld has broken the Clean Water Act(CWA) twice from 2000 to 2008 because they flush all the animal waste from it’s San Diego park into the bay (Macklin, 2015). In addition,SeaWorld lie for the public in their education series books. For example, animal info book:Bottlenose Dolphins about the discussion of dolphin brain is wrong and misleading.(White,2017). Furthermore, many of the killer whales’ family members are forced separate by SeaWorld.Orcas are highly social animals that live in groups in order to maintain mental health throughout their lives (Marino et al, 2019). Also, orca calves always very dependent on their mother, especially in Pacific Northwest they never leave their maternal groups (Marino et al, 2019). However, SeaWorld separate calves from their mother. For instance, SeaWorld took Takara from Kasatka when Takara was still a calf and during the process, Kasatka kept up a melancholy cry. And after Takara left, Kasatka made a sound in order to find her child (Natiral Public Radio, n.d.). Killer whales are a superior animal and they have an emotion regulation zone as human, so family separation is a great injury for them. Moreover, Takara and Kasatka is not the only event, John Hargrove, a former SeaWorld trainer state that there are 19 calves was taken from their mother during his career at SeaWorld (Natiral Public Radio, n.d.). Clearly, SeaWorld's treatment of its killer whales completely contradicts it message of protecting animal rights.

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Some people argue that SeaWorld’s captive killer whales are doing the right thing because they provide orca a save place and healthy food that orca can far away from polluted oceans. However, the foods and spaces provided by SeaWorld do not meet the basic need of orcas and the health problems associated with captivity are much greater than in ocean. Captive orcas live in a small tanks that limits the natural nature of killer whales. To be specific, killer whales can dive up to 1000 feet (SeaWorld of Hunt) and swim over 100 miles every day in wild (Hogenboom, 2016). By comparison, the tank provided by SeaWorld only have 35 feet height and 0.07 miles long that cause abnormal behaviour in orcas swimming potential severely (SeaWorld of hunt, n.d.). Also, captivity breeding causes psychological stress on killer whales and they appear physical and behavioral abnormalities such as spend most of time resting instead of swimming (PEAT, n.d.). Furthermore, the acoustic environment created by SeaWorld is distressing for killer whales. Orca is a highly acoustic animals and they use a series of signals for different purposes (PETA, n.d.). Artificial acoustic environment is very different from the sound in ocean and it challenge orcas’ hearing system. Many research show that cetaceans living in a excessive or unnatural levels or types of acoustic environment will affect their population involve decreasing reproductive success, accelerated aging, suppressing the immune system response, as well as hearing loss prematurely (Marino et al, 2019). Moreover, the foods given by SeaWorld cannot satisfy killer whales’ requirement. Killer whales eat fish, seals, sharks or birds as food and eat more than 4 percent of their weight every day ( Vigars, 2017).

Although SeaWorld prepares hundreds of pounds of fishes for killer whales (Vigars, 2017), they don’t give all the fishes for orcas and use it as a motivator to encourage orcas to perform well (BATT, n.d.). In addition to the lack of suitable environment and food for killer whales at SeaWorld, their health problems are serious too. Tooth damage and infection are common among killer whales who living in SeaWorld. For instance, Tilikum don’t have complete tooth and more than 90 of Katina’s tooth have been broken (PEAT, n.d.). The reason of tooth breakage is chewed metal bars and concrete pool corner for long time. ( PETA, n.d.). In order to reduce tooth infection, trainer do a pulpotomy for orcas and clean their teeth with water or disinfectant three times a day, but the effect of the method is not obvious and orcas are very painful ( PETA, n.d.). Also, Killer whales which live in the SeaWorld are prone to infectious diseases. Studies show that “many of the infections captive orcas succumb to are opportunistic infections, that is, infections by pathogens that are usually harmless but can cause disease under certain unnatural, unhealthy, or compromised conditions.” (Marino et al, 2019). However, the environment offered by SeaWorld is unnatural and unhealthy, so SeaWorld brings unnecessary diseases for killer whales. There are 22 orcas died as different disease at the SeaWorld from 1990 to 2010 (Marino et al, 2019). As a result, the killer whale’s life span is shortened and the probability of dorsal fin bending is increasing. In the wild, female orcas can live up to 80-90 years and male orcas can live up to 60-70 years.(Marino et al, 2019). However, there are only few of orcas that live in SeaWorld can live more than 30 years. (Daly, 2019). Moreover, a larger number of captive killer whales’ dorsal fin is curved while only less than 1%. killer whales have dorsal fin bending in wild. (Alves et al, 2017). Therefore, the consevation of SeaWorld is unhealthy and unnatural, which cause orcas serious physical and psychical problems.

Some people consider that killer whales show is safe because there are no cases that orca killing a human ( Hogenboom, 2016). However, the orca show aggression after being held in captivity for a long time. Orcas in captivity cannot control it’s live and the environment surrounding it, such as social peer, that cause orcas have huge stresses boredom. (Marino et al, 2019). As a result, orcas exert impaired attention, lassitude, irritability, and extreme self-stimulation behavior (Marino et al, 2019) Orcas in captivity attack each other happened many times. For example, Kandu, a female orca, attacked a new member called Corky during a show and Kandu was torn an artery, so her died quickly (Hogenboom, 2016). Orcas in captivity not only attack companion, but also human. SeaWorld s own corporate incident logs recorded 100 incidents about killer whales biting, hitting, lunging toward, pulling on, pinning, dragging. (PEAT, n.d.). For example, Dawn Brancheau, a trainer, was dragged under the water and killed in front of the audiences ( Hogenboom, 2016). Furthermore, orca have complex psychology, emotion and behaviour. Absolute brain size get involved in intelligence and relative brain size is indicated as an encephalization quotient (EQ) (Marino et al, 2019). Adult orca’s brain is more than 6621 grams and human’s brain is more than 1300 grams so adult ocras are smarter than human (Marino et al, 2019). Killer whales have complex psychology including self-awareness, emotions and social behavior that are difficult for people to understand before they act (Marino et al, 2019). Clearly, SeaWorld using a such an aggressive andenigmatic captive orca to profome a show is dangerous.

In conclusion, SeaWorld is a dishonest and cruel company that they mislead the public and conniving at whaling so they should be reassessed as to whether they should continue to hold orcas. Performance is very harmful for killer whales because the environment they live is unhealthy and unnatural that cause many killer whales death. SeaWorld should be banned for using animals to performance.

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