Save the Whales: Boycott SeaWorld
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Imagine being taken away from your family and placed in a sterile room the size of a bathtub. Imagine being forced to do tricks in front of a screaming crowd. Imagine no way out but death.
When SeaWorld keeps killer whales in captivity, they are putting the animals at risk as well as their staff. Captivity puts great stress on orcas. In spite of these risks, SeaWorld continues to profit from confining these noble, free-spirited creatures.
Just this week Orlando Seaworld announced that their beloved whale Tilikum is dying at age 35, which is young for killer whales. Last fall, SeaWorld San Diego park announced that they will be ending orca shows. Attendance at this park plunged 17 percent last year. SeaWorld is beginning to listen to its public. By boycotting and not going to the park, the public has sent SeaWorld a very clear message.
In the wild orcas live in pods with up to 100 members. They not only communicate with each other, they also form strong family bonds. SeaWorld has ripped orcas away from their families and put them with others they don’t know. These whales may not even like each other, and they have to spend the rest of their life packed together. An orca named KanduV died because of this. As an act of dominance, she bumped another whale extremely hard. She severed an artery in her jaw. She then bled to death over the next forty-five minutes.
SeaWorld uses metal bars to separate whales from each other or to keep whales off the beach. When the whales are mad at one another or are just plain bored, they will bump, chew, and gnash their teeth on these bars. This results in their teeth chipping and sinking to the bottom of their pool. When the teeth are chipped, their pulp is exposed, and food can get plugged inside. The orca’s immune system then reacts and creates inflammation, which can lead to a systematic infection. SeaWorld drills holes through their teeth and into the jaw. The killer whales do not like this procedure and have been seen sinking or trying to swim away from the trainer performing it. Kalina, another killer whale died from “acute bacterial septicemia,” which was probably caused by SeaWorld’s steel bars. SeaWorld is telling the public that it is providing the whales with excellent care and “bacteria that mysteriously entered the body” caused the infection.
All of SeaWorld’s male orcas have bent dorsal fins. 100% of male killer whales in captivity have sunken dorsal fins. This is because of floating on top of water for hours, hardly moving. In the wild only 1% of males get sunken dorsal fins.
UV radiation also harms the killer whale’s skin, eyes, and immune systems. The whales are constantly floating atop the water and are exposed to the sun all the time. One trainer’s injury was due to the whale’s bad vision, which was probably because of cataracts. The cataracts are due to the sun damage to the eyes when the orcas are logging for long periods of time. In the wild, the whales are under the protection of the dark water. They also swim under water most of the time.
SeaWorld says that the fish they feed their whales is “restaurant quality.” Orcas do not scavenge for food. They hunt for food. SeaWorld drops frozen fish into orcas' mouths, when in the wild they would be beaching to catch seals, chasing dolphins, or swimming in synch as a pod, creating a big wave to knock a penguin off the ice. In contrast, SeaWorld feeds orcas smelt, which is not part of their diet. Smelt are about the size of sardines and are tiny compared to what orcas eat in the wild. Also, by freezing fish, SeaWorld removes necessary vitamins.
The only reason SeaWorld keeps Tilikum after he has killed several trainers is in order to collect his semen to breed more whales to make more money.
The females do not have a choice. SeaWorld makes them pregnant at a very young age, which can lead to many issues. Some females may not know how to deal with a calf; some may not properly nurse their calves. This can lead to the female orcas leaving their calves to starve and die. Some babies die because of this, some mothers die during birth, and some babies die because of miscarriage. Because of SeaWorld’s “breeding program,” hundreds of whales have died.
Please join others and me in our campaign to boycott SeaWorld parks to force them to make greater changes for the good of the whales. Orcas are my passion. To help these beautiful giants, I encourage you to choose other entertainment options rather than a trip to SeaWorld.
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Genevieve Clemons needs your help with “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): Save the Whales: Boycott SeaWorld”. Join Genevieve and 688 supporters today.