Orcas in Captivity

By Sy

Can captivity make animals insane? A recorded 166 orcas have died in captivity and 30 baby orcas miscarried, according to whales.org. Seaworld has struggled with major accidents. We should learn not to tame animals that shouldn’t be tamed.

 One of the most famous accidents happened about a decade ago. February 24, 2010. It’s a regular day at Seaworld. The visitors come in and start watching the show.Everything is fine; orcas do a few jumps and the trainers tell the visitors about the orcas. Then Tilikum, a 22 foot 2000 pound orca, grabs Dawn Brancheau’s hair and pulls her under water.  Dawn Brancheau was a trainer at Seaworld from 1996 to 2010. Most Seaworld trainers are not actual marine biologists but Dawn Brancheau was. Tilikum is not so innocent; the gigantic killer whale has killed two other people in its history, including another trainer and a homeless man who crawled into its tank in Orlando. According to an interview with Seaworld from the movie blackfish Seaworld answered in a way that “it was her fault she had a ponytail.” A court trial was issued to ban the videos of the attack and anything that could show any hint of what happened that day. 

Tilikum is not the only major accident at Seaworld. One trainer said that  “most people join because they love animals and they leave because of that.” This shows that trainers have good intentions, but then get sucked into the abuse of animals. Orcas live in extremely small tanks, so that “To add up to the size they need to swim would have to swim the tank 1,500 times” says the movie Blackfish. This is nowhere near enough space for the orcas, and can be compared to the small isolation cells that humans experience in mental hospitals. For instance when trainers say that a collapsed dorsal fin is normal, it’s not it’s really an injury. This lie is used to comfort guests, and hide the problems, such as sunburn, which they cover up with zinc oxide. They also starve  the animals if they don’t have good behavior. The basic message is do well, get food and if you don’t, STARVE. Orcas, a usually friendly animal kill and injure trainers fairly regularly. They are separated from their babies and taken to a cramped space where they perform for their life. The average orca lifespan is 90 years, in captivity it’s 9 to 20. 

You can’t control nature that isn’t supposed to be tamed. Cats and dogs need a master to tell them what to do, elephants, monkeys and orcas aren’t supposed to be tamed they live on their own and aren’t supposed to be treated like objects. In conclusion Seaworld closed its orca shows and breeding programs in March of 2016, but is still open for amusement park rides and waterskiing shows.