To me the most selfish argument I think people can make about whale and dolphin captivity is the entertainment end of it. Humans often feel entitled to things we shouldn’t. I respect and recognize that captivity is a very touchy subject. I recognize that there are always gray areas. For instance, a dolphin like Winter with her fake tail will never be able to return to the ocean. I also don’t think we can just take whales and dolphins out of sea world and drop them in the ocea…n either. But I would like to see for whales who can’t be rehabilitated, open sea pen areas that are large and protected. I think we owe it to these animals after years of enslavement for our entertainment. For now, until we get there… I can only advocate that there be no new additions to any sea park. No more breeding. No more capturing. No more adding to the numbers.
They aren’t a toy for us. They are living and intelligent beings, with feelings, empathy, and family. If you want to experience them go charter a boat and see what they can really do.
Yes but the problem with this idea is that it will limit our abilities to study them. Science is very important and crucial to understanding their way of life, and captivity is one of the few ways we can see what’s going on in full view. And if kept in captivity, entertainment training is often very important for stimulation and help the whales and such. However what we need to concern ourselves with is not the entertainment factor or the captivity factor, but the well being of the animal. What we should be getting is more regulations and the enforcement of such. Protecting the animals we have is important, as well as making sure they are comfortable in their environment. As intelligent creatures they need social stimuli, which they wouldn’t get so much in a pure scientific environment. If we could find the proper balance, if anything, to bring them care and keeping as well as a better level of freedom, maybe we can let this rest.
There’s about a million scientists out there who disagree with you greatly. It’s been proven that seaworld and other organizations barely contribute anything to the scientific community. This is a very common misconception and one that pro-captivity people try to use to defend captivity frequently.
Check out these Links for a better understanding: (all links open in new window)
Myths and FAQ about Orca captivity (PDF)
From Ocean Watch CA More Myths Debunked (FB Link to infographic)
The Marine Connection, More myths debunked
Setting the record straight, Sea shepherd responds to sea world arguments about blackfish
5 reasons blackfish is more educational than sea world
Whales.org addresses captivity
Straight.com the suffering of whales and dolphins in captivity
Another FAQ sheet (opens in word) makes great points about why any researched gathered in captivity can’t apply to wild animals.
Debate that aired on PBS transcribed
The Orca Project
Peeta (I hate Peeta but these are well written points)
My main arguments about education:
-Information gathered in a captive setting is just that, a captive setting. It greatly biases the information and creates data that isnt or cant be replicated in the wild. It’s already been shown that places like sea world contribute very minimally to the scientific body of information on whales and dolphins, and what they do contribute is limited to captivity. It’s of little to no use for actual applications in the field of wild whales ans dolphins.
- Even if the captive movement did produce a wealth of information, our right to education does not trump another being’s right to exist in a healthy way.
-education and entertainment are not the same thing nor do they always go together. Watching a whale do flips isn’t education. Any education is second place and not the intended purpose. You dont see these businesses out and intervening in the plight of whales all over the world, because when whales are in trouble.. they make money by acquiring those whales. It is in their best interest not to intervene in the greater issues of whales world wide.
-Most scientists agree it’s more educational to read a book about whales than see them perform in a show.
-There is literally no evidence that people are more educated for having visited sea world.
-Scientists, zoologist, marine biologist, and animal behaviourists are all agreeing that captivity is far more detrimental to the animals than we could ever benefit from having them in tanks. When you side with sea world you are making a clear effort to ignore science. And if you make decisions based on ignoring the actual science.. then I feel sorry for anyone who lives that way. Not just when it comes to whales.
- To quote a great statement from a Smithsonian Handbook to Whales and Dolphins:
“If there is any educational element [to marine parks] it merely pays lip service to the concept of an ‘informative commentary.’ Choreographed shows are contentious and perpetuate our domineering and manipulative attitude toward nature.”