Why Captivity is Wrong

How many of you have been to a marine park? If so, have you seen  the Orca or Dolphin shows, and watch the whales perform tricks? You probably thought that it was real exciting, right? How it’s so amazing that they can jump so high and spin in the air. I’m not here to tell you that it’s not amazing. However if you had known what you are about to read, you’d wish you had never gone to one of those marine parks,  just like me.

When I first moved to San Diego, as I was just starting the third grade, I didn’t even know what a whale was. Then, halfway through that year, I went to SeaWorld for the first time, after that I became obsessed with dolphins, and I still am. When I watched my first shows there, I was so intrigued on how these creatures could jump so high, I fell in love with them. I had no idea that by going to SeaWorld, I was actually hurting the environment non-directly.

You know those SeaWorld commercials?  How they say that they help the environment by helping sick or stranded marine life?  That may be true, but often they keep those animals, even when they are fit to go back into the wild, until they lose knowledge of echolocation and hunting. Also, some Orcas in other Marine Parks, were, and still are being captured in Taiji, Japan where the largest slaughter of dolphins takes place on the planet. The trainers that select the dolphins before the others are slaughtered see the dolphins are being cruelly treated. They see that they are taking wild animals out of the wild for entertainment, they see  the blood coming out as they leave, but what do they do? NOTHING! Trainers always say, “I love dolphins so much, I could never hurt one,” but how can they love dolphins if they ARE TAKING THEM OUT OF THE WILD, WHILE THE REST ARE BEING BARBARICALLY SLAUGHTERED FOR NO GOOD F***ING REASON!?

Another issue is inside the concrete prison as well. Dolphins, much like other whales, are acoustic creatures. This means that
they use sound as their primary sense. They can see right through things with hearing. They can tell if we’re pregnant, they can hear our heart beat, and they can use sound waves when water is murky to go through without seeing. They also communicate by sound. Each pod has their own distinctive calls, much like a dialect from a certain human language.

If you put a cetacean in a concrete tank, filled with screaming people, it causes immense stress on them, not to mention their ears. In fact, in ALL of the marine parks that has dolphins, the center of it is the fish-house. If you go there, you will see people putting pills inside the fish, because the dolphins get ulcers from too much stress. At the aquarium in Baltimore, when it first opened,dolphins were dying left to right. The trainers finally figured out that the filter was creating too much noise.

Now, the recent incident in Orlando is a perfect example of why captivity doesn’t work. The screaming people most likely caused stress on the Orca, and made it react in an abnormal way. SeaWorld is blaming the trainer when it really wasn’t. It is THEIR fault for capturing the Orca and placing it in a concrete tank, and forcing it to perform daily in a stadium filled with screaming people.

Another incident occurred earlier in the same park.  It was in the Bottlenose dolphin show. The dolphins were jumping, and they collided into each other, killing, and/or  severely injuring each other. This is caused by confined space, and loss of echolocation, since it’s not needed (dolphins can see well in clear water, and out of the water).

Boredom as well is an issue. I mean really, once each dolphin shares their terrifying story with each other on how they got there, or how their parents got there, and they perform their first show, there’s really never a change in routine. I wouldn’t want to be trapped in a concrete and fiberglass tank for the rest of my life, and I’m sure that the dolphins don’t either. I bet you that they wonder if they’ll get to swim in the ocean just once, or at least have a LITTLE FREEDOM!

Most Marine Park’s method of training is “Positive reinforcement.” Here is SeaWorld’s definition of that term: Positive reinforcement is an increase in the future frequency of a behavior due to the addition of a stimulus immediately following a response. Giving (or adding) food to a dolphin that  performs a trick correctly is an example of positive reinforcement (if this results in an increase in the future behavior of the dog sitting). WHAT LIES! Here’s my definition, Food deprivation. Why? Dolphins need to eat 50% of their body fat per day, if they were to make a certain number of mistakes one day, since every creature has an “off day” a dolphin could end up starving.

I didn’t learn this information about SeaWorld  until about a year ago. When I did, at first I didn’t believe it. A month later, when I was doing research on the internet, I found an article, and when I read what I mentioned about Orchid, I felt betrayed. I would never have written this, I wouldn’t have even known about dolphins if it weren’t for SeaWorld, but when I found out, I instantly told my parents when we were leaving the house to go to SeaWorld, “No!,” and after thinking, “SeaWorld took an Orca out of the wild for no good reason,” and we never went to SeaWorld again after that.

Now, don’t think SeaWorld is the only Marine Park that captures wild whales. Miami Seaquarium is a perfect example. A female Orca, now called Lolita, was captured at Penn Cove, Whidbey Island on August 8, 1970, when she was a calf, or a baby. Once she was captured, she has spent the last 40 years of her life in captivity.

Click here for more on Lolita’s capture: #mce_temp_url#

If you read the linked page,  isn’t it sad?  You know what I don’t get?  How people come up with justifications about how she’s “educational” and how they’re trying to save endangered species, etc., while ignoring the fact that they’ve taken away her choice in the matter? I CAN’T WRAP MY MIND AROUND THAT PERSPECTIVE. How do you NOT see that kidnapping her was wrong and KEEPING her in a puddle surrounded by land is putting her in a prison cell? Even human prisoners are allowed to move about, go outside, etc. She’s in a cell that, by human equivalents, would be about 4 feet square! HOW LONG COULD ANY OF US STAND BEING LOCKED UP IN SOMETHING THAT SMALL? And she’s built to do 35 mph… not to mention the vulgar cruelty of keeping her from her own kind. You know what, I do get it now. The fact is that all they care about is money,  My opinion is that the “education” LIE is a cover-up for what’s really going on…a FREAKING SCAM FROM HEARTLESS FREAKING PEOPLE! You can learn A LOT MORE about them in their natural habitat.

However, instead of whining about it, we should start telling others, create or sign a petition, or get off of our lazy butts and actually change this.  If you can’t think of any thing yourself, here’s a few ideas.

  • Make a video about this issue (I have photos, and a video myself about this if you need help)
  • Create or sign a petition about this issue
  • Actually go down to a marine park, and hold up signs to knowledge people (you will need a license to do this from the police, unless you want to make it a big stunt, and put it on the news)

post a comment if you have  ideas that aren’t on here. Thanks for your time,

Zach Affolter

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3 responses to “Why Captivity is Wrong

  1. I have loved killer whales from a very young age and I too believe that it is wrong to keep these beautiful, powerful and very large animals in such confined spaces. However unfair it was to take the original dolphins from the wild, you haven’t addressed the point of what to do with them now. Unfortunately, as you mentioned, the mammals often lose their ability to hunt and ecolocate. This therefore means that putting them into the wild would cause them to be ‘sitting ducks’, which is cruel! I completely agree that no more should be taken from the wild but those in captivity should not be returned to the wild unless it is feasable, which it often is not. Many have now been b

  2. Sorry my silly iPod messed up.

    Many have now been born in captivity and would not survive in the wild. It is also in the interest of the species that some are kept in our care so if some natural disaster, or human disaster caused a vast decrease in the number of dolphins then the species would not become extinct, although they do present a genetic bottleneck. I have loved orcas from a very young age and would probably, like many other children not have got to see them unless they were kept in captivity. They do present an educational advantage, although how much of one could be vastly argued!!!

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