The week before last, someone posted on Twitter that orcas are being abused at SeaWorld. I replied by asking how they were being abused. I meant that as a legitimate question. I wanted to know how they were being abused.
I received several replies, two of which were impolite and obviously arrogant, and I had no use for either one. I wrote back, that I saw a lot of positive things about SeaWorld. In response one person took my Tweet and pasted on the cover of “Blackfish,” a book describing the terrible treatment of the orcas.
I did have another reply in which a young lady politely requested that I read the book, and I looked at it and read different blogs and felt a great deal of sympathy for the whales. I also realized again that this is not a perfect world. I also replied to the young lady and thanked her for being polite, and that I sympathized with her viewpoint. Another person sent me links to information about their mistreatment, and I thanked him too. That was what I was looking for in the first place, not ill mannered abuse from pseudointellectuals.
Still, I see positive things about SeaWorld, and I want to list a few of them.
1. When I go to SeaWorld, I see a lot of happy children and adults watching beautiful animals swim in spacious aquariums.
2. Our daughter teaches biology, and her interest started when she went to SeaWorld. A lot of other kids get inspired by SeaWorld.
3. I see millions of dollars flowing into the San Diego economy from people going to SeaWorld, and the famous San Diego Zoo.
4. I see research about marine animals at SeaWorld.
5. I see several hundred people gainfully employed at SeaWorld.
6. I see a magnificent show from magnificent animals who don’t look too abused to me.
7. I see well fed and well nourished animals when I go to SeaWorld.
8. I see people further acquainted with marine animals when they go to SeaWorld.
9. I see a place where families can go and learn as well enjoy themselves.
10. I see some of the most beautiful and magnificent animals on the face of the face of the earth at SeaWorld.
Now, I’m not pretending that I’m an expert, and I don’t anyone reading this to think I am. The articles I perused pointed out that the orcas at SeaWorld live in a heightened state of anxiety. There was even a film of one female orca flopping up and down on one of the stage platforms. It was stated that she was throwing a temper tantrum, but I had my doubts. I wondered if she wasn’t begging attention or just pleasing the crowd. I’m not saying she was, but I wonder how many of SeaWorld’s critics knew exactly what she was doing.
Keeping the Orcas in captivity may be cruel to them, but there is a certain amount of cruelty in any zoo. Positive points are that they are protected from the wild and whale hunters, and that they are less likely to contract diseases from pollution. SeaWorld is not all that bad, and though I’ve never been behind the scenes my guess is that the staff and management take great care of their animals. If they didn’t, animal rights organizations could put them out of business, and if they were abusing the animals, I’d be one of the first ones to demand that they close.
Abuse, you want animal abuse, go to a bullfight. Read about the games in Ancient Rome and learn how they treated their animals. Read about bear baiting in England, or the dog fights of America. Anything that goes on at SeaWorld, pales when compared to them.
I could not help but wonder about my critics, who never answered my question, what they had for lunch or supper. Do they chow down on a nice steak, possibly they can only afford a hamburger. Maybe their tastes run to pork or tuna? Do those animals suffer? It used to be that in every slaughter house there was a man whose job was to pound the passing steers on the head with a sledge hammer. Nice way to die. You ought to watch the squealing pigs as they’re led to the slaughter, and the huge Japanese nets that round up the tuna. I haven’t seen nets or sledge hammers at SeaWorld.