- Dr. Chester A. GipsonDeputy Administrator of Animal Care
- Ms. Kathy HovancsakSupervisory, Animal Care Specialist
- Dr. Elizabeth GoldentyerRegional Director, Eastern Region USDA/APHIS/Animal Care (AC)
- USDA-APHIS-Animal CareAnimal Care Decision Makers
End the Orca Captive Breeding Program in the USA
The goal of this petition is prevent the further breeding of captive orcas until we no longer have any orcas in captivity!
It is time for United States to wake up and realize that keeping orcas or other whales in captivity is a cruel act and a selfish act by the organizations that use them for entertainment! It is questionable that the orcas who are currently held captive could be released back into the wild although if in any way they could be that would be the ideal solution! The next best thing is to stop the captive breeding programs.
No one would go fishing catch a trout and bring it home and put it in a goldfish bowl, I don’t think you would? Why do the governing bodies not see that captivity severely compromises the orcas quality of life? We are not owners of these creatures and never should be, we should be their guardians and the term guardian implies we do what is best for them. Sadly that is not the case.
Captivity is not about education and conservation it is about profit! Orcas in the wild are far ranging, fast moving, and deep diving and are known to travel as many as 150 kilometers a day, and reach speeds as high a 50 kilometers a day. Aquariums cannot possibly simulate the natural habitat of these large orcas! The water in their tanks is chemically treated to prevent them from swimming in their own waste live plants and live fish cannot be placed in the pools due to this. The concrete walls prevent them from using their natural acoustic abilities. The orcas diets must be supplemented with vitamins and minerals they will not receive in frozen dead fish. Orcas are also given antibiotics under a policy of so-called preventive medicine.
It should be blatantly obvious to the general public, the experts, the trainers and the veterinarians and all other experts in the field of the study of orcas that the pools these animals are contained in are not adequate. You must ask yourself why all of the above mentioned are not mortified by the abusive nature of the act of confining these large, beautiful, wonderful, creatures and why they do not recognize that this is an act of extreme cruelty. This becomes a moral issue as well to make these programs justifiable these animals should be better off or not worse than they were in the wild.
The argument of conservation is further shot down based on the social nature of orca and the specialized behaviors acquired in the group they live among in the wild. They learn these survival skills from their mothers and other members of the group; this is why they stay with their mothers for so long. In captivity they are removed from their mothers at a much earlier age thereby creating an atmosphere of a life certain to remain in captivity forever! How can this be called an act of conservation if you are creating animals that can never be released back into the wild.
Review these video’s on Captivity:
Naomi Rose, Ph.D. recently visited SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida to see Tilikum and how his life has changed since the tragic death of his trainer.
You may also write individual letters to the following:
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS)
Animal Care Division
4700 River Road, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737-1234
Phone: (301) 734-7833 Fax: (301) 734-4978
2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117
Phone: (970) 494-7478 Fax: (970) 494-7461
920 Main Campus Drive
Raleigh, NC 27606-5210
Phone: (919) 855-7100 Fax: (919) 855-7123
- Deputy Administrator of Animal Care
Dr. Chester A. Gipson
- Supervisory, Animal Care Specialist
Ms. Kathy Hovancsak
- Regional Director, Eastern Region USDA/APHIS/Animal Care (AC)
Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
- Animal Care Decision Makers
I urge you to end all captive breeding programs of orcas in the United States. It is known fact and stated by many organizations that orcas in captivity by no means is a program of conservation it is a program of profit by the facilities that house these magnificent creatures.
A powerful statement by Jean Michael Cousteau of Ocean Futures Society brings to light the plight of the orca in captivity. “The orcas now in captivity could be prevented from reproducing and would live their lives in retirement under the best conditions we could provide. There would be no “shows,” no entertainment, only activities to keep the orcas active. They would die of premature death like all captive orcas. A sad chapter in the history of our treatment of sentient, intelligent, complex animals like orcas would finally close, with the recognition that captivity of these animals has moved and changed us as well.”
I am writing to urge you to recognize that the tanks these animals are contained in are not adequate. This becomes a moral issue and to make these programs justifiable these animals should be better off or not worse than they were in the wild. In the words of Jacques Cousteau “No aquarium, no tank in a marine land however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea.” In the wild orcas live in large groups of tight family units that often last a lifetime. In the sea they can move up and down and side to side and are always swimming even when they sleep. In tanks they are allowed only a few strokes in any direction before coming to a wall. In a tank the environment is monotonous and limited. In perpetual motion they are forced to swim in endless circles.
I respectfully request that the United States lawmakers recognize that an animal the size of the orca combined with the unique social nature of the orcas; and with regard to the physical needs of the orca; they could never be kept in captivity in any manner remotely close to humane. The United States must make a stand to end the captive breeding programs of orcas and allow the remaining orcas to live in retirement, no more shows, no more forcing the animals to entertain for profit, and allowing them to live out the remainder of their lives in an environment more conducive to their size and needs.
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