Mistreatment of Killer Whales at Seaworld

2537 words (10 pages) Essay in Environmental Studies

08/02/20 Environmental Studies Reference this

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The Sea’s World

 Seaworld, a marine mammal park located in Orlando, Florida is the home to many walks of ocean life. The park contains animals such as killer whales, seals, dolphins and many more. Seaworld might portray a beautiful sanctuary for sea life, but however it really is not. Seaworld is mistreating their animals that they use for their shows. The staff does not take proper care of these animals. The park was exposed to the public when the documentary “Blackfish” came out to the public. It discussed the abuse towards the wildlife there. They need to take the right steps towards helping these creatures. Animals can become extinct and endangered quite quickly and Seaworld is doing nothing but adding to the deficit. Sea animals are not meant to be living in these conditions and or trained to be in shows as if they were dogs or horses. Wild animals deserve to be free in the ocean where they belong free. What is born free should remain free and not captured for show.

 First off, the immoral abuse towards the killer whales is inhumane. Tilikum is the main whale discussed in the documentary “Blackfish”. This is a film on the abuse on killer whales at Seaworld. He was the head honcho of all the whales Seaworld owned. After being unable to perform to the abilities of the other whales Tilikum was put into a large swimming pool where the conditions were not suitable for his life. These poor conditions provided to him by Seaworld happened to affect his behavior in a negative way. Keeping him all contained like a prisoner making him angry led to the gruesome death of a trainer. Large whales such as Tilikum belong in the ocean where they can swim freely. Trainers were also getting killed by him along with other whales. Killer whales were meant to be kept in the ocean like others but here they are all in captivity at Seaworld. The whales were not getting the help they needed. Everything Sea World did to these whales caused them harm. The killer whales were intentionally hurt physically and mentally. All the steps Sea World took to address this issue were in the wrong direction doing more harm than help. The third victim for Tilikum was in February 2010. “Tilikum dragged senior SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau into the pool and forced her underwater, killing her.” This was the big eye opener to Sea World which forced others to crack down on their wrong doings. Blackfish said how aggressiveness can be passed on to a whale’s offspring. Tilikum being the top breeder, his offspring is spread throughout the world so those whales have a good chance of snapping like their dad. This proves my claim by having the inside scoop on what really goes on behind closed doors at Seaworld.

The new year was not off to a good start for this poor whale. Tilikum sadly passed away on January sixth in two-thousand and seventeen from a bacterial infection. His death could have been avoided entirely the whole time. Tilikum became bad publicity for Seaworld when he murdered a trainer Dawn Brancheau, ripping her to shreds. They took him out of their world renowned shows after this horrific incident. The gargantuan whale was then removed from population with the other whales and put into a small swimming pool like tank as if it were meant to be a punishment for him. Seaworld took immediate action and forced antipsychotics medications and antibiotics down his throat to see if it would make Tilikum normal again.Well that did not help at all, he just swam around in the little pool in a comatose state all day long because of the drugs he was forced on to. Tilikum was as we would call another human beings a “vegetable”. He was a “vegetable” by force which is totally wrong and abusive towards such a magnificent creature. Killer whales need to be stimulated on a daily basis such as any other living thing. Seaworld initial decision to put Tilikum in the small tank was not doing him any sort of justice. It just continued to make things worse for the innocent whale. This proves how his death could have been prevented if he were to have access to proper living conditions. All of this madness could have simply been avoided by not placing killer whales in swimming pools and letting them be free in the wild ocean where they belong. Also if Seaworld properly treated Tilikum after his first incident with a trainer rather than the third he may not have gone insane and these tragedies could have been prevented.

How is it that the ocean’s top predator is out performing like it were to be in a circus? In fact, killer whales have been the main attraction at some of these marine mammal parks since way back in nineteen sixty-five. Roughly there are around forty-two killer whales alive in these parks all over the world. Seaworld just happens to be the owner of twenty-six of them, go figure. Seaworld takes mostly young female whales from the ocean. These babies are ripped away from their families to be put on display for people to observe. Taking one is understandable for research but owning twenty-six is a little obscure. There is no need for that many whales to be taken from their families to get put in a vat where they will be poked, proded and abused by Seaworld employees. At the park, killer whales were induced into intense training sessions to be able to perform for their shows which happened every hour eight times a day. Seems to be excessive amounts of scrutiny for an animal which is meant to be seen in an ocean and not an amusement park. A staggering number of whales were not able to adjust to their new life styles leading about one-hundred and thirty whales held in captivity died. A prime example of why killer whales should be free swimming amongst their families in the ocean.

When word broke on the mistreatment and abuse towards the sea life at Seaworld PETA was quick to get themselves involved. PETA is one of the biggest animal rights organization in the entire world. Their renown work helped many animals live to see better days. According to PETA in nineteen eighty-three 12 dolphins were taken from their home in the ocean near the coast of Chile to go and be seen by millions at Seaworld. This “dolphin-napping” led to half six of them dying within the six months of their arrival. Another sad situation that Seaworld created was separating a “mom” and “dad” polar bear from one another. They were in the same exhibit for twenty years and than the park decided to rip them apart leaving the one bear alone by itself in isolation caused it to die from a broken heart. The world famous killer whale Shamu, the face of Seaworld’s extraction from the ocean was mortifying. This sweet little female whale was stolen from her mom whom was shot and killed by a harpoon. Shamu became depressed without her mother causing her to die after being in captivity for only six years. Clearly Seaworld is inadequate in doing everything they can to help and preserve this species. PETA also called Seaworld out on continuing to buy whale after whale. Accusing the park of even having whale hunters cut open the guts of the deceased whales, stuffing them with rocks so they can sink to the bottom of the ocean where they were to never to be discovered. Yet another sickening thing Seaworld did was masturbating Tilikum a cantankerous amount of times to inseminate female orcas. Tilikum is the father of most of the orcas in Seaworld and even half of his children died as well. Clearly Seaworld is not meeting the mark on saving animals. If their job was to be poachers they would probably be better off because they both are doing similar horrible things to these innocent animals.

Seaworld’s inadequate habitats are not doing the animals much good. In an interview with Jane Goodall the legendary primatologist she strongly leans towards Seaworld being shut down, condemned even for it’s immoral acts upon the wildlife. Goodall’s remarkable research resulted in inquiring that whales and dolphins communicate with sonar like sound waves. When one of these animals try to communicate with one another or if they just cry out for help, their sound waves bounce off the walls in the tank which than echoes back at them making an acoustic hell for itself. Orcas captive here at Seaworld are forced to deal with these horrible screams everyday. Imagine if someone rubbed styrofoam together in your ears everytime you ever said a word, it would be very, very irritable which is similar to the situation of these orcas. Goodall alongside other phenomenal activist want to see Seaworld retire all their killer whales from doing shows and released into water sanctuaries. At the sanctuaries, they would be in places such as large bays netted off from the big ocean where they have no knowledge of survival. Water sanctuaries would provide the killer whales with safety along with freedom of the constant mistreatment from Seaworld. Never again would a whale have to act like a monkey in a circus, following commands by a human.

Furthermore, wrongful doings by Seaworld leaked out to the public and showed their true colors, their darkside. Seaworld is adding to the deficit of killer whales in the wild which is making them become closer to becoming endangered and even some day extinct. The World Wildlife Fund claims that “some local populations are considered threatened or endangered due to a number of factors including pollution and whaling”. In order for Seaworld to have whales for their popular shows, they had to go whaling for them. Hunting them down in the wild and just flat out abducting them; Scarring them for their lives just for the benefit of the paying customers that come to the park.

To add on to the mess Seaworld already created for itself mistreating the whales, former trainer John Hargrove wrote a book slamming the park. He was an eyewitness to the constant psychological and physical trauma the whales went through while being detained in captivity. In his book John discusses how he saw first hand how Seaworld was ripping many animals from their original families out in the ocean. Stating that his associates would kill some of the whale’s family members that got in their way of capturing the baby whales. He released information on why Seaworld could not release the orcas back in the wild. This reason is that they are inbred causing them to develop many uncommon illnesses not commonly found in wild orcas. Some whales in the park are even hybrid creating an abnormal killer whale that does not even exist out in the open ocean. Seaworld is over here genetically modifying orcas for their benefit damaging and paying no care towards the animal as a whole. Another major thing John brought up was about how the “Ringling Brothers” had to stop using elephants in their circus performances. The circus had retired the elephants to a sanctuary to live out their days humanely. Seaworld could have done the same when PETA protested it but they decided to disregard the entire thing, making it seem like it is impossible and continued to harm these whales lives, torturing them.

Although Seaworld remained to keep using whales in the parks, they did take affirmative action. The park pledged ten-million dollars to study killer whales by watching them in the ocean. Seaworld has helped over thirty-four thousand sick, hurt and misplaced animals become good as new. Veterinarians at the facilities invented life changing devices that can replace a dolphins phin if it was shredded in a boating accident. Perhaps a turtle is in need of a new shell Veterinarians can now “3D” print out a new one. With the help of the developing technological advances only going to be improving over time. Seaworld has a long history of over forty years of rescuing animals and healing them. The most major move that Seaworld made after trying to defend themselves for the mistreatment of their whales was joining the “Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program”. This program is intended to increase the population of killer whales in the oceans and restoring their worlds. Seaworld actually did do some good after all the evil they were causing.

In conclusion, Seaworld mistreats killer whales they use in their shows. I strongly agree with what Jane Goodall said on Seaworld about how they should shut their doors. They should be able to keep the rehabilitation center their but that only, no more shows. Transfers should be made in order to bring the remaining killer whales live out their lives in peace at a sanctuary. Mistreatment in any shape and or form, mentally or physically harming an animal for no substantial ethical reason should be criminalizing.

Works Cited

●       Cowperthwaite, Gabriela, Manuel V. Oteyza, Eli Despres, Jonathan Ingalls, Chris Towey, and Jeff Beal. Blackfish. , 2013.

●       Kohn, Eric. “‘Blackfish’ Director on SeaWorld Today and How Tilikum’s Death Was Avoidable.” IndieWire. 09 Jan. 2017. IndieWIre. 01 May 2019 <https://www.indiewire.com/2017/01/seaworld-tilikum-death-blackfish-director-interview-1201766729/>.

●       Rooney, Ben. “Jane Goodall: SeaWorld ‘Should Be Closed down’.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, 28 Apr. 2015, 2:44 PM ET, money.cnn.com/2015/04/28/news/jane-goodall-seaworld/index.html.

●       Zimmermann, Tim. “The Killer in the Pool: A Story That Started a Movement.” Outside Online, Outside Magazine, 18 July 2017, www.outsideonline.com/1924946/killer-pool?page=all.

●       NFWF. “Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program.” National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, 5 Sept. 2017, www.nfwf.org/killerwhales/Pages/Home.aspx.

       Worrall, Simon. “Former Trainer Slams SeaWorld for Cruel Treatment of Orcas.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 29 Mar. 2015, news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/150329-orca-blackfish-seaworld-dolphins-killer-whales-ngbooktalk/.

●       Sylt, Christian. “The Other Side Of SeaWorld.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Oct. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/csylt/2018/10/13/the-other-side-of-seaworld/#33156a032e8f.

●       “17 Horrible Things SeaWorld Has Done | PETA.” SeaWorld of Hurt, PETA, 25 May 2018, www.seaworldofhurt.com/features/horrible-things-seaworld-has-done/.

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