Empty the Tanks
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The whales currently trapped in SeaWorld’s man-made enclosures were once free to roam all parts of the ocean as they pleased and without boundaries. They traveled in their pods, spoke to one another, had children, hunted together, and developed relationships in their natural habitat. In order to capture whales that would become SeaWorld’s money-making main attraction, SeaWorld staff travel into the oceans, invade the Orcas’ homes, tranquilize them, and pluck them out of the water in giant harnesses. In this process, whales are separated forever from their children and from their pod mates. SeaWorld staff not only traumatize the whales, but they have also inadvertently killed whales they were trying to capture. To hide their illegal actions, the staff cut open the whales’ stomachs and put weights into their bodies, causing the carcasses to sink to the bottom of the ocean.
SeaWorld employees have repeatedly lied to visitors and the media about the whales in captivity in an attempt to keep making money. For example, workers at SeaWorld will say that Orca whales will live longer in captivity than in the wild, and will reach a lifespan of 35 years, when, in reality, whales living in the ocean can live up to 100 years. SeaWorld will also say that all the whales living in the enclosure are family, when they are actually captured from different parts of the world, speak different languages, and interact completely differently. This can lead to certain whales getting bullied. One whale, Tilikum, had scratch marks inflicted by other whales all over his body and he was harassed by his fellow inmates his entire three decades at SeaWorld. Employees will also say that the animals found in their institute were endangered or injured and could not return to the wild. Although that is true in some cases, SeaWorld captures animals in the ocean completely at random with no intention of seeking out only the ones that might actually need human assistance. SeaWorld has no regard for the physical and mental well-being of the Orcas. The purpose of this facility is solely for money-making purposes.
The treatment of animals inside SeaWorld’s enclosures is inhumane and cruel. The animals are taught tricks through starvation and punishment. Animals are consistently removed from the water and have sperm removed from them for breeding purposes. This is unnatural and often causes death in the offspring. Orcas in the wild swim up to 140 miles a day but in captivity they have half of a street block to live in. The depth of their tanks is correlated to that of a bowling alley. 12,000 lb whales are not meant to be in a tank the size of a football field. Bacterial lung infections, skin infections, and other medical problems resulting from captivity have killed 40 Orcas, 300 other types of whales and dolphins, and 450 walruses, sea lions, and seals. Another common cause of death from the transportation of the animals across the country in trucks, crates, and enclosed spaces with little oxygen, light and water.
SeaWorld acts with great disregard for both animal and human lives. Being held in captivity leads the animals to go insane, become violent, and inflict harm upon themselves, other animals, and people. One walrus became so bored in captivity that it began pressing its mouth against the glass and regurgitating and swallowing its food repeatedly. When a baby Orca was separated from its mother and shipped across the country, the mother spent days in the corner of the enclosure, calling out and crying for its baby. The animals suffer extreme amounts of psychological damage when forced to perform unnatural tricks for humans. Most aquariums have “Touch Tanks” where guests can get up close to the animals and touch them, kiss them, and even ride them. This causes emotional stress for the animals and brings bacteria into their environment. The overload of germs causes skin disease, aggression, and anxiety in the animals. In earlier years, the performances of Orcas and humans resulted in multiple deaths of trainers who had initially claimed that they had formed a “close bond” with a whale that eventually killed them during performances. There are no cases of whales showing violence towards humans in their natural habitat, but glass walls and starvation can cause anger in their hearts, resulting in the lost lives of trainers.
The actions of SeaWorld and hundreds of other aquariums can be changed, because their actions are motivated by the bottom line: money. When visiting zoos, aquariums, or other places that hold animals in captivity for financial purposes, research it before you give them your money. Find out if the business uses endangered or inured species, and if they’re really doing what is best for the animals’ emotional and physical health. If we stop putting our money and attention towards animal cruelty, the facilities will eventually be forced to alter their behavior or shut down. Every life matters, including animals. Choosing to ignore SeaWorld’s hate, abuse, lies, and inhumanity because it does not affect you personally says a lot about the person you are. Choose to boycott SeaWorld. Empty the tanks.
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