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SeaWorld to end Orca breeding programme

Chris Brown

Mr CoasterForce 2016
Hopefully this will mark the end of the facebook animal rights experts slagging off seaworld and its treatment of Orca's whilst still openly supportting other zoo's and dolphin shows. Whilst i think its wrong that any animal should be held in captivity i dont believe that one animal has any more right to freedom than another.

Hoping Seaworld can continue to do their fantastic work with animal rehabilitation without the financial power that comes with using live animals as part of their shows. Is it wrong to hold a few animals captive if that successfully raises awareness and raises huge amounts of money for sea based charities and rehabilitation schemes? Who knows.
 

mouse

Giga Poster
Chris Brown said:
Hopefully this will mark the end of the facebook animal rights experts slagging off seaworld and its treatment of Orca's whilst still openly supportting other zoo's and dolphin shows. Whilst i think its wrong that any animal should be held in captivity i dont believe that one animal has any more right to freedom than another.
I do. All animals have different requirements, lifestyles and intelligence levels. Killer whales are highly intelligent, highly social and highly active animals. In the wild they can swim up to 100 miles a day, spending all their lives with their pods and mothers, and are constantly stimulated by their natural environment. A captive environment in which they are confined, separated and mistreated is just wrong for them, it affects their health both physically and mentally. Therefore I think they have more of a right to freedom than, say, sloths, who's wild lifestyle isn't overly different to the lifestyle they will get in captivity, and captivity won't affect physical and mental health.

The difference between Sea World and other zoos is that Sea World is primarily a theme park/entertainment business, which is why it runs exploitative killer whale shows. Although other zoos arguably exploit their animals, Sea World lacks (or avoids) a fundamental understanding of how their animals should be cared for in order to maintain their physical and mental condition. There are many other parks that exploit their animals in a similar way, but Sea World is the most high profile, which is why its getting more attention than others.

Hoping Seaworld can continue to do their fantastic work with animal rehabilitation without the financial power that comes with using live animals as part of their shows. Is it wrong to hold a few animals captive if that successfully raises awareness and raises huge amounts of money for sea based charities and rehabilitation schemes? Who knows.
It is wrong, because the animals are being exploited for entertainment and aren't being cared for adequately. Sea World began as a business purely for entertainment, the Zoo Licensing Act in 1981 required them to participate in conservation, charity and education. It is still an entertainment business and although it is still providing a useful contribution, a very small amount of their profits go towards research and conservation projects. I agree that they do do some good rehabilitation and conservation work, but it doesn't redeem them for their mistreatment of animals. As for raising awareness and education, they do raise awareness and educate people on wild animals and conservation. However they are also telling visitors that all their animals are cared for brilliantly and love being in captivity. I agree with you that Sea World are doing some good, but that doesn't counter the bad they are doing.

Regarding this news, I'm very pleased that they are planning to phase out the shows altogether and won't be introducing any more killer whales. They are right that the existing whales won't survive being let into the wild, however a better option would be releasing them into open sea pens. At least then they will be able to experience their natural habitat and have a bit of freedom and space, while still being regulated and cared for. But hey, its a good compromise.
 

Sandman

Hyper Poster
mouse said:
As for raising awareness and education, they do raise awareness and educate people on wild animals and conservation. However they are also telling visitors that all their animals are cared for brilliantly and love being in captivity. I agree with you that Sea World are doing some good, but that doesn't counter the bad they are doing.

Agreed. As much as an enthusiast as I am, I just can't put money in their pockets whilst animals are still suffering in their name. Don't want to sound preachy or anything, but the best thing SeaWorld can possibly do is reduce their wildlife line-up to only include lesser intelligent animals and marine life that they are able to provide a comfortable habitat for. The welfare should come well before the entertainment. Education would be a better angle for them. Education and entertainment.
 

PeskyTrimBrake

Hyper Poster
Chris Brown said:
Hopefully this will mark the end of the facebook animal rights experts slagging off seaworld and its treatment of Orca's whilst still openly supportting other zoo's and dolphin shows. Whilst i think its wrong that any animal should be held in captivity i dont believe that one animal has any more right to freedom than another.

Hoping Seaworld can continue to do their fantastic work with animal rehabilitation without the financial power that comes with using live animals as part of their shows. Is it wrong to hold a few animals captive if that successfully raises awareness and raises huge amounts of money for sea based charities and rehabilitation schemes? Who knows.

I agree. Other parks continue to do this, yet after CNN's **** and biased job at investigating SeaWorld with Blackfish, Seaworld has become the main subject. Many have ignored the good SeaWorld has done in the past and have focused on this negative aspect of them instead. Hopefully they keep helping animals the way they always have without having PETA on their asses.
 

SaiyanHajime

Strata Poster
I'm glad.

I don't have issues with captive orcas. I too get extremely frustrated with the anti-captivity for orcas but forget every other animal mindset. Whilst different animals do have different requirements, to even begin to suggest that we humans know what those are and can make sense of them is just so utterly absurd... Orcas get all the attention because they supposedly have shorter captive lives than in the wild, but the oldest captive orcas are only now surpassing their wild counterparts, just because we haven't been keeping them that long!! Yes, many have died, but not compared to their wild mortality and they're a relatively new captive species and every animal in captivity went through trial and error to keep it. People just seem blissfully unaware of how bloodstained the history of man keeping animals is? I don't understand. Your pets are the result of selectively breeding and selectively culling! All zoo animals' ancestors were plucked from the wild. The anti-orca but everything else is cool mindset is just so dumb. No one seems to know about elephants, for example - they have shorter captive lives than their wild counterparts, strong family bonds and higher levels of emotive intelligence, all destroyed by captive settings. AND they've been captive for longer as a species. No one's freaking out about elephants, though! Wonder why...? I'll tell you why - because no one told them to.

But I'm still glad - because I think SeaWorld needs to evolve. Animal shows in general are not the wonder they once were and public perceptions of animal rights will continue to grow. Whether keeping orcas in captivity is moral or not is a mute point if the majority of people think its not and you're a business who needs to make money from those people!
 

SilverArrow

Giga Poster
This is clearly a business decision to keep the company afloat and improve their PR. I can see how it makes sense from a business standpoint.

I could write a massive essay on this citing examples from my experience behind the scenes in the zoo industry but that would take ages so I'll just say. SeaWorld don't mistreat animals. You might agree that the animals shouldn't be there or that they might be bored but trust me, their basic needs are being met. Activists will tell you animals are 'sad' but how do they know this? Do they know the animals individually and whether all of their needs are being met? Most likely no. Are they using anthropomorphic statements to gain emotive responses? Yes, totally. A good zoological establishment will have a positive reinforcement training programme for husbandry, which they have (and also use as enrichment), a good zoo will meet and exceed licensing requirements (which they do), a good zoo will hire the best, most experience professionals and provide animal enrichment and social opportunities (which they do). I could go on but my point is, there are some really terrible zoos out there but SeaWorld isn't one of them. Their issue is the public perception of the shows that they give (overly showy) and also the fact that Orca are very large animals etc. The training behind a SeaWorld show and your local dog agility show or your local zoo target training session are the same. It is the way it is shown at SeaWorld (with music, lights etc) that makes it controversial and an easy corporate target.

N.B. Re-the age issue, animal activists used an outlier (a whale that was guessed to be 100 years old) to skew their wild average lifespan statistic. This whale probably isn't even 100 years old, so (as someone did say) above the jury is still on whether there are any differences in lifespan dynamics between wild/captive.

Also, those of you who have said you don't agree with zoos, do you also not agree with saving endangered species and wildlife education too? Zoos (good ones) have moved a long way from concrete polar bear pools and chimps tea parties.

Rant over, but this is something I feel passionately about and this is a forum for discussion so I have taken the opportunity to discuss.

Sent from my XT1039 using Tapatalk
 

lachlan

Mega Poster
SilverArrow said:
This is clearly a business decision to keep the company afloat and improve their PR. I can see how it makes sense from a business standpoint.

I could write a massive essay on this citing examples from my experience behind the scenes in the zoo industry but that would take ages so I'll just say. SeaWorld don't mistreat animals. You might agree that the animals shouldn't be there or that they might be bored but trust me, their basic needs are being met. Activists will tell you animals are 'sad' but how do they know this? Do they know the animals individually and whether all of their needs are being met? Most likely no. Are they using anthropomorphic statements to gain emotive responses? Yes, totally. A good zoological establishment will have a positive reinforcement training programme for husbandry, which they have (and also use as enrichment), a good zoo will meet and exceed licensing requirements (which they do), a good zoo will hire the best, most experience professionals and provide animal enrichment and social opportunities (which they do). I could go on but my point is, there are some really terrible zoos out there but SeaWorld isn't one of them. Their issue is the public perception of the shows that they give (overly showy) and also the fact that Orca are very large animals etc. The training behind a SeaWorld show and your local dog agility show or your local zoo target training session are the same. It is the way it is shown at SeaWorld (with music, lights etc) that makes it controversial and an easy corporate target.

N.B. Re-the age issue, animal activists used an outlier (a whale that was guessed to be 100 years old) to skew their wild average lifespan statistic. This whale probably isn't even 100 years old, so (as someone did say) above the jury is still on whether there are any differences in lifespan dynamics between wild/captive.

Also, those of you who have said you don't agree with zoos, do you also not agree with saving endangered species and wildlife education too? Zoos (good ones) have moved a long way from concrete polar bear pools and chimps tea parties.

Rant over, but this is something I feel passionately about and this is a forum for discussion so I have taken the opportunity to discuss.

Sent from my XT1039 using Tapatalk

The fact that these are massive animals which from the sounds of it would roam huge areas in the sea are being confined to a tank within a theme park is what makes it different from a zoo or a dog show.

I'm generally against zoos and keeping animals for viewing (and saving endangered species wouldn't be necessary if we weren't destroying the habitats in the first place, but that's another issue altogether), but a good zoo as you described doesn't bother me much at all compared to SeaWorld, for the reason I just wrote above.

Even if SeaWorld have the highest standard of care for these whales, they are still being kept in tanks which just feels wrong for such a beautiful, intelligent creature.

Why can't people just go on one of those boat trips to see them in their natural habitat?
 

SilverArrow

Giga Poster
lachlan said:
SilverArrow said:
This is clearly a business decision to keep the company afloat and improve their PR. I can see how it makes sense from a business standpoint.

I could write a massive essay on this citing examples from my experience behind the scenes in the zoo industry but that would take ages so I'll just say. SeaWorld don't mistreat animals. You might agree that the animals shouldn't be there or that they might be bored but trust me, their basic needs are being met. Activists will tell you animals are 'sad' but how do they know this? Do they know the animals individually and whether all of their needs are being met? Most likely no. Are they using anthropomorphic statements to gain emotive responses? Yes, totally. A good zoological establishment will have a positive reinforcement training programme for husbandry, which they have (and also use as enrichment), a good zoo will meet and exceed licensing requirements (which they do), a good zoo will hire the best, most experience professionals and provide animal enrichment and social opportunities (which they do). I could go on but my point is, there are some really terrible zoos out there but SeaWorld isn't one of them. Their issue is the public perception of the shows that they give (overly showy) and also the fact that Orca are very large animals etc. The training behind a SeaWorld show and your local dog agility show or your local zoo target training session are the same. It is the way it is shown at SeaWorld (with music, lights etc) that makes it controversial and an easy corporate target.

N.B. Re-the age issue, animal activists used an outlier (a whale that was guessed to be 100 years old) to skew their wild average lifespan statistic. This whale probably isn't even 100 years old, so (as someone did say) above the jury is still on whether there are any differences in lifespan dynamics between wild/captive.

Also, those of you who have said you don't agree with zoos, do you also not agree with saving endangered species and wildlife education too? Zoos (good ones) have moved a long way from concrete polar bear pools and chimps tea parties.

Rant over, but this is something I feel passionately about and this is a forum for discussion so I have taken the opportunity to discuss.

Sent from my XT1039 using Tapatalk

The fact that these are massive animals which from the sounds of it would roam huge areas in the sea are being confined to a tank within a theme park is what makes it different from a zoo or a dog show.

I'm generally against zoos and keeping animals for viewing (and saving endangered species wouldn't be necessary if we weren't destroying the habitats in the first place, but that's another issue altogether), but a good zoo as you described doesn't bother me much at all compared to SeaWorld, for the reason I just wrote above.

Even if SeaWorld have the highest standard of care for these whales, they are still being kept in tanks which just feels wrong for such a beautiful, intelligent creature.

Why can't people just go on one of those boat trips to see them in their natural habitat?
You misunderstood my comment about dog shows. I was talking about the style of training. I.e. positivity based with choice and trust rather than negative reinforcement and punishment etc (which you might see in the circus or with some controversial dog trainers). I was merely addressing the 'the training is horrific and cruel' argument that people (not you specifically) often use. Also why does the fact that an animal habitat is located in the vicinity of a rollercoaster or whatever make a difference on animal welfare standards? Most people don't visit the zoo for a day out with the sole intention of donating to wildlife causes (they go to have a fun, entertaining day out, like you would at a theme park) but they end up donating to good causes by spending money during this fun day out. Arguably zoo/theme park combo parks have a much wider public reach potential for impromptu conservation education for those who didn't decide to visit for the animals but learnt some new facts along the way.

Most zoological professionals will tell you that in an ideal world we shouldn't need to have zoos and animal sanctuaries. But we don't live in an ideal world. You can theoretically say that you wouldn't like this or that in an ideal world but we're dealing with the world as it is, now (complete with rising orca deaths, ocean pollution and poisoning etc).

Wild whale watching is great apart from the fact that is many locations (certainly at the two locations I have done it, including seeing Orca) the whales are followed day in day out by a large number of big tourist boats. Ship engine noise has been shown to cause cetaceans distress and lots of boats ignore rules and get too close. Some countries have problems with people trying to feed wild dolphins in particular (because we as a species have an obsession with interacting with them, it seems) which promotes begging and abnormal behaviour so whilst when done correctly it can be a good option it's not without it's issues.

Lots of people just say 'let's not have zoos', 'let's set them free', 'this makes me feel guilty so therefore I must make a knee jerk reaction' but in the real world logical pragmatic decisions need to be taken.

It's not so much this new ruling that offends me (because things were bound to change) but the fact that people like to use it as an example to tar the entire zoo industry including all of the good work that it does.
 

Sandman

Hyper Poster
SilverArrow said:
Most zoological professions will tell you that on an ideal world we shouldn't need to have zoos and animal sanctuaries. But this isn't an ideal world. You can theoretically say that you wouldn't like this or that in an ideal world but we're dealing with the world as it is, now.

We don't need zoos. Lachlan's point with regard to the animals sheer size is correct. How is it possibly fair to keep an animal of that scale in a fairly restricted environment? Especially with the knowledge that said mammal is known to travel vast distances in it's natural habitat. Also, you said:

SilverArrow said:
Also why does the fact that an animal habitat is located in the vicinity of a rollercoaster or whatever make a difference on animal welfare standards?

Possibly for the same reason as
SilverArrow said:
Ship engine noise has been shown to cause cetaceans distress

I can't imagine a theme park with constant hustle and bustle, along with various ride noises, screams etc being much less distressing.
 

SilverArrow

Giga Poster
Sandman said:
SilverArrow said:
Most zoological professions will tell you that on an ideal world we shouldn't need to have zoos and animal sanctuaries. But this isn't an ideal world. You can theoretically say that you wouldn't like this or that in an ideal world but we're dealing with the world as it is, now.

We don't need zoos. Lachlan's point with regard to the animals sheer size is correct. How is it possibly fair to keep an animal of that scale in a fairly restricted environment? Especially with the knowledge that said mammal is known to travel vast distances in it's natural habitat. Also, you said:

SilverArrow said:
Also why does the fact that an animal habitat is located in the vicinity of a rollercoaster or whatever make a difference on animal welfare standards?

Possibly for the same reason as
SilverArrow said:
Ship engine noise has been shown to cause cetaceans distress

I can't imagine a theme park with constant hustle and bustle, along with various ride noises, screams etc being much less distressing.
We might not need SeaWorld but if you care about saving endangered species, promoting conservation education etc then in this current world as it is now, we do need zoos, yes.

You're taking the point too literally. And anyway vibrations underwater in very close proximity (a few metres) =/= a rollercoaster in the other side of a park. My point was that you say you don't like animals on theme parks but if said theme park was doing just as much good work with conservation than an average zoo what difference does it make that they have some rides? But then you hate zoos so this point isn't really relevant is it?
 

Sandman

Hyper Poster
^ See, Seaworld and places like it are almost contradictive in their practice. Because, really, any conservation being undertaken at SeaWorld isn't really having a massive impact on natural wildlife. I've seen no evidence thus far that Seaworld contributes significantly towards conversation of natural wildlife. Conservation shouldn't really mean removing intelligent wildlife from their natural habitat, and putting said wildlife into an entertainment venue. Which it is.

And I'm not sure how else to take your point. Not literally? :lol: It seems fairly straight forward. And we're not just talking one rollercoaster though, are we? We're talking about an entire theme park with thousands of guests surrounding these mammals. It's still a fairly significant level of noise I'd say.
 

SaiyanHajime

Strata Poster
Someone said something along the lines of orcas needing to travel hundreds of miles a day in the wild. Yes, for food, along with many, many other species of animal no one bats an eye at being in a zoo... ya know what happens in captivity? Most animals sit on their fat arses and wait to be fed. Orcas? Most of them perform in shows. Those shows are enrichment, those shows are exicise.

People are so weird about this. Whilst we all sit here using the internet, you're arguing that animals must do what is natural? So, humans mist refrain from going to gyms, yeah? Just go run about, hunt, collect berries? No more gym, that's not natural.

Just because something isn't natural, doesn't mean it is inherently bad.

SeaWorld does do a lot for wildlife - but they ARE a business. You can be both.

They have so many sick and injured animals behind the scenes which can't go on display, because of public perception. So they live out happy, enriched, well fed lives. The organisation rescues dogs for their shows! These animals have gone from boredom to enrichment with the learning of tricks and positive reinforcement. SeaWorld are a good, reputable zoo company.

It breaks my heart that animals like Lolita at Miami Seaquarium exist whist everyone **** on SeaWorld.

Focus efforts on pressuring crap zoos to stop malpractice, not good ones like SeaWorld.

Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk
 

mouse

Giga Poster
Joey said:
Orcas get all the attention because they supposedly have shorter captive lives than in the wild, but the oldest captive orcas are only now surpassing their wild counterparts, just because we haven't been keeping them that long!!
Where did you get the data about the oldest captive orcas surpassing their wild counterparts? From what I could gather the oldest captive orca is around 51 years old, whereas the oldest spotted in the wild is estimated to have passed 100. It is difficult to find non-biased data on life expectancies in captivity and the wild, with Sea World claiming it is similar and anti-captivity activists claiming it is significantly longer in the wild, so I’m not sure on the difference. But differences in life expectancy isn’t the only argument against Sea World.
Joey said:
People just seem blissfully unaware of how bloodstained the history of man keeping animals is? I don't understand. Your pets are the result of selectively breeding and selectively culling! All zoo animals' ancestors were plucked from the wild. The anti-orca but everything else is cool mindset is just so dumb.
I completely agree with you, there is definitely an increased focus on killer whales possibly due to the success of Blackfish and its knock on effect. Less awareness is raised about other captive animals at the moment, but that doesn’t mean someone can’t be against captive killer whales – it has to start somewhere. I think people are aware of the cruel pasts when it comes to animals, we now look back on animals performing in circus’ with disgust, and by learning from past events like that we are beginning to condemn more and more – starting with the plight of captive orcas.
SilverArrow said:
Activists will tell you animals are 'sad' but how do they know this? Do they know the animals individually and whether all of their needs are being met?
It is known that killer whales have a very advanced emotional intelligence, and they need constant stimulation through various interactions. Comparisons of behaviour of captive and wild orcas suggest the former suffer a lack of stimulation resulting in forms of depression or even psychosis.
SilverArrow said:
there are some really terrible zoos out there but SeaWorld isn't one of them.
No, but it has the highest profile so of course it will gather the most attention and controversy. I don’t know about your claims to do with Sea World’s quality of care and I’m sure you’re more well-informed than I am, but there are certainly arguments against their care standards.

Just to reiterate, I’m not an animal rights activist nor am I against all zoos. The higher profile of this controversy just interested me, as it has for many which is why it gets more attention.

Joey said:
Someone said something along the lines of orcas needing to travel hundreds of miles a day in the wild. Yes, for food, along with many, many other species of animal no one bats an eye at being in a zoo... ya know what happens in captivity? Most animals sit on their fat arses and wait to be fed. Orcas? Most of them perform in shows. Those shows are enrichment, those shows are exicise.
Yes, in the wild they do travel up to 100 miles a day for food, and therefore they have evolved with characteristics and instincts related to travelling long distances. Its natural for them, and therefore depriving them of enough space is a problem. The difference between Orcas and other animals is that many other zoo animals have been captive for years down the line, they’re practically domesticated. The first killer whale on the other hand was captured in the 1960s. Even with the ones that have lived in captivity all their life, they are still wild animals with wild instincts that aren’t catered for – it takes a fair few generations for them to adapt fully. You may say something along the lines of that’s how all zoo animals began their captivity, which is true. But we have learnt a lot since then and know more about killer whales in this stage of captivity than we did about previous species. There isn’t much need for them to be in captivity any more, if they were captive for research and scientific purposes they wouldn’t be performing in shows. The shows, consisting of the whales jumping out of the water, splashing their tails etc, is repetitive and monotonous, and not adequate enrichment in my opinion.
Joey said:
People are so weird about this. Whilst we all sit here using the internet, you're arguing that animals must do what is natural? So, humans mist refrain from going to gyms, yeah? Just go run about, hunt, collect berries? No more gym, that's not natural.
Not sure if that’s a fair comparison. Humans have evolved and adapted over thousands of years into a life that we are comfortable with, which includes computers and gyms or whatever. Killer whales were forcibly taken from their natural habitat and made to perform and live in inadequately sized tanks. In this early stage of captivity the orca’s natural lifestyle must be reflected in the conditions they are placed in, in order for them to maintain good physical and mental health.
Joey said:
SeaWorld are a good, reputable zoo company.
The fact they’ve had to end their breeding programme due to public backlash suggests they're not entirely reputable. I agree that they have done good conservation and rehabilitation work, but does that mean their immoral practices shouldn’t be highlighted?
Joey said:
It breaks my heart that animals like Lolita at Miami Seaquarium exist whist everyone **** on SeaWorld.
Lolita actually gets a lot of attention, if you google it there are lots of petitions and websites against her captivity. Out of all the marine parks that have killer whales, Sea World probably has the best conditions and care, but its still not good enough. To highlight the wrongdoings of Sea World has a backlash on other parks including Seaquariam, as it is the most high profile and state of the art. That’s why I think it is receiving the most criticism and attention.
 

cjbrandy

Hyper Poster
I can't believe after *2 brutal and gory deaths with intent to kill behind them (not his fault that he was so disturbed), Seaworld STILL continued to make Tilikum perform. He could have snapped again at any moment, perhaps by pulling in and drowning one of the kid volunteers they get up on stage to touch Shamu...

When I was 10 I went and saw it all, it was all good fun! It was the summer of 2007 so I was probably watching Tilikum aka "Shamu" and the now deceased Dawn Brancheau perform in front of me. But now I firmly believe that any whales and dolphins are not suitable for captivity, they are emotionally intelligent like us and being stuck in a fish tank their whole lives damages their mental health more than we think.

In my opinion, Seaworld need to phase out orca/dolphin shows asap, release them to the wild and focus on new rides, coasters and having the best aquariums! There's plenty of things they can do to make their parks a great and varied day out without orca and dolphin shows.

*the first death he was involved in was determined to be playfulness gone wrong
 

lachlan

Mega Poster
SilverArrow said:
lachlan said:
SilverArrow said:
This is clearly a business decision to keep the company afloat and improve their PR. I can see how it makes sense from a business standpoint.

I could write a massive essay on this citing examples from my experience behind the scenes in the zoo industry but that would take ages so I'll just say. SeaWorld don't mistreat animals. You might agree that the animals shouldn't be there or that they might be bored but trust me, their basic needs are being met. Activists will tell you animals are 'sad' but how do they know this? Do they know the animals individually and whether all of their needs are being met? Most likely no. Are they using anthropomorphic statements to gain emotive responses? Yes, totally. A good zoological establishment will have a positive reinforcement training programme for husbandry, which they have (and also use as enrichment), a good zoo will meet and exceed licensing requirements (which they do), a good zoo will hire the best, most experience professionals and provide animal enrichment and social opportunities (which they do). I could go on but my point is, there are some really terrible zoos out there but SeaWorld isn't one of them. Their issue is the public perception of the shows that they give (overly showy) and also the fact that Orca are very large animals etc. The training behind a SeaWorld show and your local dog agility show or your local zoo target training session are the same. It is the way it is shown at SeaWorld (with music, lights etc) that makes it controversial and an easy corporate target.

N.B. Re-the age issue, animal activists used an outlier (a whale that was guessed to be 100 years old) to skew their wild average lifespan statistic. This whale probably isn't even 100 years old, so (as someone did say) above the jury is still on whether there are any differences in lifespan dynamics between wild/captive.

Also, those of you who have said you don't agree with zoos, do you also not agree with saving endangered species and wildlife education too? Zoos (good ones) have moved a long way from concrete polar bear pools and chimps tea parties.

Rant over, but this is something I feel passionately about and this is a forum for discussion so I have taken the opportunity to discuss.

Sent from my XT1039 using Tapatalk

The fact that these are massive animals which from the sounds of it would roam huge areas in the sea are being confined to a tank within a theme park is what makes it different from a zoo or a dog show.

I'm generally against zoos and keeping animals for viewing (and saving endangered species wouldn't be necessary if we weren't destroying the habitats in the first place, but that's another issue altogether), but a good zoo as you described doesn't bother me much at all compared to SeaWorld, for the reason I just wrote above.

Even if SeaWorld have the highest standard of care for these whales, they are still being kept in tanks which just feels wrong for such a beautiful, intelligent creature.

Why can't people just go on one of those boat trips to see them in their natural habitat?
You misunderstood my comment about dog shows. I was talking about the style of training. I.e. positivity based with choice and trust rather than negative reinforcement and punishment etc (which you might see in the circus or with some controversial dog trainers). I was merely addressing the 'the training is horrific and cruel' argument that people (not you specifically) often use. Also why does the fact that an animal habitat is located in the vicinity of a rollercoaster or whatever make a difference on animal welfare standards? Most people don't visit the zoo for a day out with the sole intention of donating to wildlife causes (they go to have a fun, entertaining day out, like you would at a theme park) but they end up donating to good causes by spending money during this fun day out. Arguably zoo/theme park combo parks have a much wider public reach potential for impromptu conservation education for those who didn't decide to visit for the animals but learnt some new facts along the way.

Most zoological professionals will tell you that in an ideal world we shouldn't need to have zoos and animal sanctuaries. But we don't live in an ideal world. You can theoretically say that you wouldn't like this or that in an ideal world but we're dealing with the world as it is, now (complete with rising orca deaths, ocean pollution and poisoning etc).

Wild whale watching is great apart from the fact that is many locations (certainly at the two locations I have done it, including seeing Orca) the whales are followed day in day out by a large number of big tourist boats. Ship engine noise has been shown to cause cetaceans distress and lots of boats ignore rules and get too close. Some countries have problems with people trying to feed wild dolphins in particular (because we as a species have an obsession with interacting with them, it seems) which promotes begging and abnormal behaviour so whilst when done correctly it can be a good option it's not without it's issues.

Lots of people just say 'let's not have zoos', 'let's set them free', 'this makes me feel guilty so therefore I must make a knee jerk reaction' but in the real world logical pragmatic decisions need to be taken.

It's not so much this new ruling that offends me (because things were bound to change) but the fact that people like to use it as an example to tar the entire zoo industry including all of the good work that it does.
In that case I can't comment on the level of care SeaWorld provides, when I visited I avoided the shows altogether. But, as Sandman has said, my main point was that you'd probably need a tank the size of Orlando or bigger in order to properly recreate a natural ocean environment for these creatures. Zoos don't bother me much as long as the enclosures are large enough to recreate nature properly and there is a focus on preservation and endangered species. SeaWorld is simply too small to keep huge intelligent creatures like these.

I personally would like to see SeaWorld focus on the aquarium and the roller coasters (Mako looks good!) rather than keeping whales, and if they spent some of their profits on actually protecting animals in their original habitat, that would be fantastic. We as humans need to focus on protecting habitats and then we can enjoy viewing these animals responsibly in the real world, not some man-made enclosure.

Joey said:
People are so weird about this. Whilst we all sit here using the internet, you're arguing that animals must do what is natural? So, humans mist refrain from going to gyms, yeah? Just go run about, hunt, collect berries? No more gym, that's not natural.
We as humans know that our society is not "natural", so when you visit the gym we are fully aware (or at least should be) of how it affects our bodies and what side effects doing "unnatural" things has. The whales are bred in captivity and have evolved to roam vast areas of ocean. The whale doesn't know what's going on. We don't know how whales feel when they are in the tanks or when they perform (and they may have a lot of feelings from the sounds of it), whereas we as humans are aware of what is going on when we visit the gym. We can't tell the whale how to cope with being denied its natural environment and that's where your analogy falls short. We choose to go the gym, whales don't have a choice.
 

SilverArrow

Giga Poster
Sandman said:
^ See, Seaworld and places like it are almost contradictive in their practice. Because, really, any conservation being undertaken at SeaWorld isn't really having a massive impact on natural wildlife. I've seen no evidence thus far that Seaworld contributes significantly towards conversation of natural wildlife. Conservation shouldn't really mean removing intelligent wildlife from their natural habitat, and putting said wildlife into an entertainment venue. Which it is.

And I'm not sure how else to take your point. Not literally? It seems fairly straight forward. And we're not just talking one rollercoaster though, are we? We're talking about an entire theme park with thousands of guests surrounding these mammals. It's still a fairly significant level of noise I'd say.

N.B To clarify with everyone when I say Seaworld I mean the parks as wholes not just their killer whale programs. They deal with a he k of a lot more animals than just orca (not that everyone would even notice this sometimes)!

Just because you haven't seen any conservation work that they do doesn't mean that they don't do any. They do a tonne of work with manatees, sea lions, seals, dolphins etc. If you look for info you can find it pretty easily.

My point about the noise was that you were suggesting the wild was perfect and that human care was noisy and horrific. I was merely pointing out that the wild has plenty of it's own issues.

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SilverArrow

Giga Poster
Re the lifespan comment. That news article that went around about an 100 year old Orca was based off vague suggestion that it could be possible that she was 100. The ages of older Orca are estimated as they didn't catalogue their births so they have to estimate. This was done based on a variety of possible scenarios with one being that there might be a chance that she was 100.

Also- positive reinforcement training is based on giving the animal choice. Tilikum, and all the whales and other animals get a choice to participate in training sessions and do not get fold deprived if they choose not to participate. A hungry animal is more likely to be aggressive-you want to promote calm, positive behaviour.

Just trying to clarify some common assumptions around animal care.

I think we can all agree that this topic is complicated and that there is no one magic solution to solve all problems.

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Intricks

Strata Poster
^ You do realize that there is a governing body that dictates just which sea creatures are allowed to be released back into the wild or not. This isn't an instance of Sea World goin "Nooooo! MY PRECIOUS MUST BE KEPTS WITH SEA WORLD". They legally cannot release all the Orca's and the rest of the sea life they have back into the wild.

As has been shown in the past as well (see Keiko), the Orca's would need a lot of training to both forget their reliance on humans and showmanship, but to also re-ignite/help hone their natural nstincts. The costs for all 25-30 (is it 29?) Orca's in captivity would be astronomical for everything needed (transportation, round the clock surveilance, permits, live food, trainers, etc) to help re-acclimate them back into a wild environment.

Ive completely lost what I was originally doing with this post, so that is it for now.
 

SaiyanHajime

Strata Poster
Humans evolved to not eat grains, but guess what we do? Eat a lot of grains. The food industry even claims they're healthy for us!

Animals, given the choice, would rather not exercise unnecessarily. Exercise is costly in the wild, something they MUST do to find food.

No, we cant tell how well any animal copes with... Well anything, but that works both ways. To say the orca must be miserable because they aren't living as they evolved to live is such a gross misunderstanding of nature.

Most animals have better captive lives by any reasonable account. Better nutrition, no predators, etc. The SeaWorld whales in particular get the exact recommended amount of exercise, nutrition. Etc. Their health care is better than that of most people in America, let alone the world. Frankly, and this is just me so please don't take this personally, there's something gross about worrying over the care for a few orcas at SeaWorld, whilst people are dying because they can't get access to water or doctors.

But anyway... It's still a good move for SeaWorld because perception matters. They made the right decision as a business and I'm glad they're finally moving on from orcas.

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