Orca

New Page!

I’ve added a new page to my blog called SeaWorld Sucks. It will be a place that you can refer friends, family, or even strangers to so they can understand the truths behind the world’s “leading” marine park. I hope everyone enjoys the first post! I worked really hard to create a photographic comparison that would show how incredibly disconnected those that own SeaWorld are from the animals they exploit.
Check out the pages at the top or just click here!
Thanks for reading!

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Marine Wildlife, Orca, seaworld, Whales | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seaworld causes a devestating injury to orca whale

Seaworld is once again proving why they should be closed down and why orcas do not belong in captivity. On September 20th, an orca named Nakai hit a portion of the pool with his face during a show at SeaWorld San Deigo. The injuries are horrific and the fact that SeaWorld continued with the show is absolutely appalling. A piece of his chin that was the size of a dinner plate was retrieved from the bottom of the pool. SeaWorld trainers and management are saying they did not realize the extent of the injury and therefore did not stop the show. I would think that ANY injury would be just cause for stopping a show. I am not sure how these “highly” trained cetacean experts failed to miss the exposed bone coming out of Nakai’s face. I didn’t think it was possible for me to be more disgusted with SeaWorld and their supporters, but this incident has shocked me into a whole new level of disgust and absolute hatred.

Nakai’s injury proves why Orcas do NOT belong in captivity.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Marine Wildlife, Orca, seaworld, Whales | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Another death in captivity, but it isn’t just SeaWorld at fault

Once born into a life at SeaWorld, Jozu did not stand a chance.

There has been yet another death in the pools of marine mammal captivity. In 1994, a false killer whale was born into a life of captivity in SeaWorld. As with most captive animals, she faced a short life full of sickness and ailments. She was named Jozu and was said to have chronic health problems throughout her life. Jozu only made it to the age of 17. In the wild, female false killer whales live an average of 62 years.

When I read stories like this I find myself going through a string of emotions. I am always sad for the animal because their life here is gone. They are no longer existing amongst us and I find myself wondering if their soul has been reborn into another life that is now wild in the ocean. As I am thinking about this life that is gone I realize I am angry with SeaWorld for allowing it to happen. They bring these animals into the world knowing that they will never live to see a day anywhere close to what they should naturally. They know about the species and what they require in order to survive and yet they still allow captive breeding and condemn these animals to an early death. It is in these moments that I wish I hadn’t been banned from all of SeaWorld’s social media pages so I could write to them publicly and tell them how I feel while exposing the truth to their “fans”.  Although, it was those messages that originally got me (and several other fake profiles) kicked off their pages in the first place.

Then, I seem to realize that even though the people at SeaWorld are guilty of many cruelty crimes involving animal exploitation, there is another group at blame.  Every single person that supports SeaWorld or any other marine park is also responsible for Jozu’s death. This continued ignorance is what drives the industry. And perhaps it is not always unintentional ignorance. We have become a VERY complacent society who thinks they have a great deal of entitlement owed to them. We look around and see bad things and just look the other way or tell ourselves its just part of life. For example, anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows about the pet population crisis. The shelters are bursting at the seams with homeless pets and yet there is still that person who will go spend $1000 on a pure bred animal and justify the action by saying, “I wanted it”. People breed their own cats or dogs because they can or want their kids to see the birth. It stems from this idea that because you were born into the human species you have domain over every other creature and if you want it, you can have it. And you will just walk by the pet shelter with your pure bred dog because you’ve become completely complacent to the faces in the window.

This is exactly what is happening at SeaWorld. People simply do not care or think about the existence of those animals. People feel that they have the right to go look at dolphins and whales at a park. Or they say that since they were born in captivity it doesn’t matter.  They get to go to the park for a day with the family and watch these animals perform a bunch of unnatural circus tricks and then go home. That is where the thought ends. They don’t go home and think about that animal still sitting in the same pool full of chemically altered water. They don’t think about the dead fish the animals get only when they perform their silly tricks. They don’t think about the medicine stuffed into the fish to help the animals cope with stress and health issues. They aren’t sitting in the stands cheering and clapping, listening to the announcer and the music and wondering how all that noise effects a creature whose strongest sense is sound. They simply go to SeaWorld, watch the shows and then go home and tell their friends and family about their big family day out.

Money and power and entitlement and complacency. That is what makes SeaWorld go round. A simple internet search will teach you that False Killer whales naturally swim in groups of 10-20 members, which then belong to a larger pod consisting of hundreds of animals. You can learn about the average life span which is about 58 years for males and 62 for females. You can learn about their strong social bonds which have resulted in mass strandings. These are not things you learn at SeaWorld and none of these natural attributes were a part of Jozu’s life. She was deprived of all the things her wild cousins have, including a life that should have lasted into her sixties.

And while these animals are floating around in glorified swimming pools, getting sunburns at the surface, with no life beyond tricks and swimming in circles, Stephen Schwarzman (CEO of the Blackstone Group) is home in his 20,000 square foot, 35 bedroom estate. A home that is bigger then the orca tanks at SeaWorld. Yes, he is responsible for the sad life of every animal at SeaWorld, as well as the death of Jozu, but if you’ve bought a ticket then so are you.

Stop with the complacency. Stop supporting SeaWorld. Stop supporting captivity. Together we can close their doors for good.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Orca, Whales | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Update to Morgan’s Timeline

I have made a couple of updates to the timeline about Morgan.

You can click here to go to the timeline and see the new updates at the bottom.

Thanks for reading!

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Orca, Whales | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Minds in the Water

This is fantastic new documentary coming out about a surfer’s experience with the ocean and the amazing creatures in it. He is on a mission to bring awareness to the many, many problems the ocean is facing and how we can all make a difference.

Check it out!!

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Orca, Shark Finning, Sharks, Uncategorized, Whales | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Case Dismissed

Aerial view of orca tanks at SeaWorld

It was big news when People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals tried to take on SeaWorld in a court case based on the Thirteenth Amendment. Any Google search using the words ‘Peta’ or ‘SeaWorld” would pop up nothing but information about the court case. It was back in October 2011 that Peta filed the suit against the, in my opinion, disgusting SeaWorld empire. The suit was filed in the US District Court in San Diego claiming that the orca whales kept by SeaWorld were slaves to the entertainment industry. The spokesperson for Peta had this to say before the trial began:

The whales “were forcibly taken from their families and natural habitats, are held captive at SeaWorld San Diego and SeaWorld Orlando, denied everything that is natural to them, subjected to artificial insemination or sperm collection to breed performers for Defendant’s shows, and forced to perform, all for the Defendant’s profit.”

On February 8, 2012, the judge dismissed the case and said that,

“the only reasonable interpretation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s plain language is that it applies to persons and not to non persons such as orcas.”

Alright, so I have mixed feelings about this Peta versus SeaWorld case. I agree with Peta and the fact that the orcas are definitely being held captive against their own will and are being held for profit reasons only. I think that is a pretty clear and obvious fact. My only worry about the case was what would Peta try to go after next? I am part of a very active marine mammal activist community and I know others had the same concern. I am a dog owner. I have a rescued pit bull mix that I literally saved from the euthanasia room. She was going to be put to sleep because she was sick and therefore lost her place on the adoption floor. It was either go home with me, or die. Does Peta approve or disapprove  of my owning a dog? She gets a lot of love and sleeps on the bed next to me every night, but she also stays home with the cat when I go out to dinner or go to work. So would they consider that wrong treatment of an animal? Thoughts like this worried me. Would they at some point go after police dogs being used to sniff out bombs and drugs? Who knows, but either way I think it was a tremendous thing to file a suit against SeaWorld. They cleary do not have anything but profits in mind when they see the orcas and other dolphins swimming around in circles in their tanks. They exploit and use the animals in their “collection” every single day.

Stephen Schwarman is the Co-founder and CEO of Blackstone Entertainment, which owns SeaWorld

I read the other day that Stephen Scwarzman paid one million dollars to throw his 60th birthday party in 2007. His home is 7,000 square feet bigger than the ENTIRE Shamu stadium! Schwarzman is the co-founder and CEO of Blackstone Entertainment, which owns SeaWorld. Now I understand that the Blackstone Group only recently purcased the Seaworld empire in 2009, but since then there hasn’t been any improvements in the facilities or care. They keep Tilikum isolated in a small tank because of the recent death of trainer Dawn Brancheau.

Tilikum is kept in a small tank, isolated from the others

 

 

 

Stephen Schwarzman's vacation home in Palm Beach

 

I read the observations of one individual who went to SeaWorld two days in a row and watched Tilikum for 10 hours, both days. During that time they saw him alone the whole time. No interaction with the other orcas, no toys, no real trainer interaction time. He was only moved from one small tank to another. How is this good treatment of an animal? After the PETA trial a SeaWorld spokesperson said this,

“SeaWorld reamins the standard for stewardship of marine animals and we reject any challenge to the conditions and quality of care for these remarkable animals.”

Seaworld is the standard for marine animal care? If that is the truth then its time to raise the bar and demand a higher standard because they are a big blanket of failure in my eyes.

Lets hope the upcoming OHSA case against SeaWorld gives the world an even better view into the dark world of captivity.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Orca, Uncategorized, Whales | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Morgan: A Timeline *Updated

I put this timeline together a while back, but I have updated it with the new information about upcoming court cases and occurences at Loro Parque. I will continue to update this and re-post as new information about Morgan becomes available.

Timeline:

June 23, 2010 – Morgan was spotted in the Wadden Sea off the coast of the Netherlands looking emaciated/sick and captured. She was taken to Harderwijk Dolphinarium.

June 29, 2010 – Harderwijk announced Morgan needed to stay in captivity for 3-6 months

July 5, 2010 – Harderwijk announced she was in good health

August 3, 2010 – Harderwijk invited the public in to view Morgan. Advertised her on their website and had thousands of visitors. She was on display through the summer until they closed for the season in late October.

December 10, 2010 – Announced Morgan would not be released.

March 2011 – Morgan is back on display for paying customers at Harderwijk.

Morgan on display at Harderwijk

July 2011 – Harderwijk announced Morgan would be sent to Loro Parque.

July 27, 2011 – CITES grants permit to move Morgan to Tenerife.

July 28, 2011 – Suzane Michele Allee wrote an open letter to Netherlands government about Loro Parque. She worked there for 3.5 years. Click here to view document.

August 3, 2011 – Orca Coalition went to court in Amsterdam to prevent Morgan from going to Loro Parque. They won that court case against the Dutch government that was responsible for the decision. Judge also ruled Morgan needed to be moved to a larger tank immediately (this never happened)

September 2011 – PSA for Morgan was released. Jean-Michel Coustea was featured along with other marine mammal experts.

September 25, 2011 – previous and recent acoustic matches to vocal repertoire of Morgan (Free Morgan Foundation findings)

September 26, 2011 – paper is released by Humane Society by marine mammal expert Dr. Naomi Rose about why orcas should not be in captivity.

September 30, 2011 – Morgan’s extended family identified (FMF findings)

October 2011 – Henk Blekner of the Dutch Government says Morgan will go to Loro Parque because the ocean is “too dangerous”.

November 7, 2011 – Court hearing in Amsterdam for Morgan. Allowed submissions from orca experts who supported her release back into the ocean. Judge will make decision on Nov 21.

November 21, 2011 – Morgan will be sent to Loro Parque under the guise of research.

November 28, 2011 – Morgan begins her journey to Loro Parque. There is video of this transport online (and on my blog)

December 1, 2011 – Loro Parque began advertising Morgan on their Facebook page with photos including ones with trainers.

December 2011 – A video was released showing Morgan at Loro Parque with two other females. In the video she is being chased and is attacked a total of nine times. Of course those were just the number of attacks on this video and there are most certainly more that were not on film.

February 2012 – Photos of Morgan are released showing her being trained to perform at Loro Parque.

February 2, 2012 – The Orca Coalition Group announced they will be suing the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture, and Innovation. They are suing in the hopes to release Morgan using the law which states her transfer to Loro Parque was illegal as well as the stipulation that her capture was only allowed because the permit stated she would be released back into the ocean when healthy. They hope to get Morgan moved to Norway where a rehabilitation plan would begin for her release. 

April 2012 – Expected start of the first session in the case against the Dutch government.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Marine Wildlife, Orca, Uncategorized, Whales | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RIP Mike deGruy

An amazing PSA for Morgan was released in September 2011 featuring film maker Mike deGruy. He had such passion for Morgan and wanted to see her put back in the ocean where she belonged. I thoroughly enjoyed him in this video. He will be missed.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Orca, Whales | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Still Hope for Morgan

Morgan during her lonely stay Harderwijk

It has been a while since I wrote about Morgan, the young wild orca now living a life of captivity. I am happy to finally be writing an update with some fairly good news. For a long time I felt I was only reading news that brought me heartache and disappointment about Morgan’s fate. However, it was announced that in the spring The Orca Coalition Group will use the legal system to go up against the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture, and Innovation. The Dutch government allowed Morgan to be captured in the first place and then allowed her transfer to the Spanish island of Teneife. They permitted the wild capture with the stipulation that the young orca would be released back into the ocean once healthy. The interesting part is how quickly certain people found reasons why Morgan’s health and status would not allow for a release. The government and the incompetent Henk Bleker fell for these ridiculous claims and decided Morgan would be better off spending her life in captivity. It was from this that Morgan was sent to Loro Parque. A great candidate for the worst politician award in my opinion would be Henk Bleker when he stated that Morgan would be sent to Loro Parque because, the ocean is “too dangerous.” I would highly recommend that Henk as well as other members of the Dutch government pick up a book about marine mammals and the ocean next time a situation like this presents itself. They may also want to read up on the EU laws that state moving an orca between parks for commercial purposes is illegal. The claim was made that Morgan was being moved for research purposes but they failed to mention the fact that Loro Parque is an entertainment park and no research occurs there. So this portion of Morgan’s life also seems to have some legal lapses as well. Hopefully though, the law will help free Morgan where common sense did not. Hester Bartles of the Orca Coalition Group says that, “now it’s about the fate of Morgan, we hope to be able to force her release via the legal route”.

The first session of this hearing is expected to take place in April in Amsterdam. The OC hopes to get Morgan moved to Norway where she can then be rehabilitated and then released.

Morgan at Loro Parque being taught to do tricks in exchange for her meals

I still have hope that Morgan will once again be swimming wild and free in the ocean where she was taken from.

“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 re-adapting back to where they evolved for over fifty million years is considered risky and problematic.” – Leah Lemieux

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Orca, Whales | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-Trainers Speak Out

I love seeing professional trainers speak out not only against SeaWorld, but about captivity in general. A new website called Voice of the Orcas was recently created by four ex SeaWorld trainers. Carol Ray, John Jett, Samantha Berg, and Jeffery Ventre have teamed up to tell the world what they know about captivity. All worked in the industry and have stories to tell about the horrors that occur behind the scenes at places like SeaWorld.

SeaWorld is just a circus for marine mammals

I was absolutely disgusted when I read that one such “keep quiet” story involved two orcas dying at SeaWorld from the West Nile Virus. They were bitten by mosquitos because they are so inactive at the surface of the water. It’s appalling to hear of their unnecessary and preventable deaths. And to know that SeaWorld covered it up and hid it from the public shows their true motives. They are not concerned with the welfare of their animals, they do not care about conservation and our planet. They care only about money, power and maintaining the image that has been carefully portrayed to the public.
 
Do the planet a favor and don’t visit any marine park or aquarium that keeps marine mammals in captivity. They are not there for science or conservation, they are there are cash cows. They are there because someone else has chosen to get rich off of their misery. Don’t buy a ticket.
Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Orca, Whales | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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