Every couple of days I visit the site created to help Morgan, the orca whale being held at the Harderwijk Dolphinarium. I read the news updates and try to stay informed on her situation. I find it so odd that the issue is based around ownership and where Morgan should live. A wild orca should not belong to anyone. She shouldn’t be a person’s property that can be bought and sold to the highest bidder. This is a living, breathing, sentient creature. This is an animal that got sick when she was separated from her family and then humans jumped in and “rescued” her. I say “rescued” because those involved in her capture never had the intention of releasing her back into the ocean. They didn’t go to the ocean to save her. They went to take an animal that had become an easy target knowing she can make them a lot of money. The moment they had her in their tank, they started coming up with all the reasons why she cannot be rehabilitated and released. It is all about money, greed and power. Not a single person involved with Morgan’s life in captivity has her best interests in mind. None of those people are considering her welfare, health or happiness. To them, she is just a money-making whale.
So that brings me back to my original thought about ownership. Maybe I see the world differently but I don’t think anyone can own a wild animal. An orca that was born in the ocean with her family can not all of a sudden belong to a person. At least she shouldn’t. I guess I feel that animals have rights. Especially in this situation. Morgan, which is just a name someone gave her when they decided they owned her, is a wild orca whale. She does not belong to anyone. That is the beautiful part of her life in the ocean. She is wild, free, and living the way a whale is supposed to. I think it is a disgrace that our society, our governments, our lawmakers allow this to still happen. It seems like something that happened years ago before people realized the damage certain actions had on wildlife. I do not understand how a young whale can be caught and then kept in captivity for the rest of her life. Part of me does not understand why humans try to interfere so much as it is. Let nature do its thing. This poor whale is going to possibly spend the rest of her life in a concrete tank full of chemically altered water. She will learn silly tricks and eat dead fish that have been stuffed with medicine. She will never see her family again. That tank will never allow for natural behaviors such as swimming up to 100 miles in a day. The tank will allow for continuous circles and nothing else.
Humans need to get past this dominant, we are above every other living creature mentality. That way of thinking is why our planet is falling apart all around us.
It seems ironic that the captivity industry fully expects cetaceans to cope with the violence and trauma of chase, capture, removal from community, family and habitat, incarceration in unnatural conditions, training and acceptance of dead food — but readapting back to where they evolved for over fifty million years is considered risky and problematic. ~ Leah Lemieux, Author, Rekindling the Waters: The Truth about Swimming with Dolphins