Mar 222010

Last week, arguing that orcas should not be kept in captivity, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk lamented that captive orcas are “swimming in their own diluted urine.”   A perfect metaphor for the insanity of Animal Rights: apparently she believes that wild orcas all use a giant toilet where they flush their urine away…

“Don’t be silly,” some may say, “in the ocean there is lots of room for the urine to dissipate whereas an aquarium is much smaller.”  This is emblematic of the sort of “facts-be-damned” thinking PETA endorses.  Simple truth: the water in any U.S. orca habitat is orders of magnitude cleaner than the water in the ocean.  It is filtered, UV sterilized, chemically balanced, and checked several times a day.

If you believe orca’s should not have to swim in dirty water containing dilute urine, by all means get them the heck out of the filthy ocean and into a clean aquarium…

In the same interview, Bob Barker explained that the enclosures orcas are kept in are equivalent to putting a human in a bathtub.  Really? When is the last time you were able to swim at full speed in your bathtub?  Dive many times your height below the water and then leap into the air more than twice your height?  Maybe in Bob Barker’s bathtub… Simple truth: orcas are kept in habitats costing tens of millions of dollars, their diets are superlative; and their exercise and enrichment plans among the best in the world. Cetologists and trainers at Sea World have been instrumental in protecting these animals in the wild and in captivity, and have provided more knowledge and funding to help orcas than almost anyone else in the world while also fostering interest and passion for these animals in tens of millions of children. Bravo!

Mr. Barker also spoke about how “demeaning” it is for an animal to have to perform tricks for the entertainment of humans.  This is absurd. An animal learns a behavior and it does that behavior and receives praise and reward.  This exercises their bodies and their minds, and is in no way demeaning to the animal.  Animals make no value judgments about whether doing a flip befits their social standing—they simply do the behavior and have a great time. It is a game, one that they play in the wild as well, and one they can stop anytime they want. Perhaps Mr. Barker is simply projecting his life onto the animals—he DID spend his life performing in front of the masses in exchange for a great deal of money which he now seems determined to spend ruining the lives of as many animals as possible.

HSUS is now lobbying to have Tilikum the orca released to the wild.  They want to repeat the Keiko adventure which generated many donations.  You remember Keiko, the orca who was taken at great expense from his nice Oregon enclosure where he was healthy and happy and turned loose into the wild where he pined away for months following boats and swimming into bays looking for any friend who would feed him fish and rub his belly as he remembered from his days in captivity. Until he finally died with pneumonia, starving and lonely.    Yes, let’s do that again! Because animals deserve to be in the wild…

 March 22, 2010  Posted by at 12:54 am

  5 Responses to “Captive Orcas Swimming in Urine”

  1. The Keiko story is so sad. Though I suppose a group of nuts who think releasing animals raised in captivity into the wild to die of starvation or vehicle impact counts as ‘liberation’ would similarly believe that you can just dump a whale into the wild with no problem.

  2. Finally a pro-captive news article! I’ve been searching all night for a single article and I couldn’t find one that wasn’t P.E.T.A. extremist related until now. For that I give thanks for not only the article but for the great facts you’ve pointed out as well which I think were great to learn about. The only question I have about this article regarding Orcas is, is their lifespan really longer in captivity than in the wild? From what I looked into it seems like Orcas still live a shorter lifespan in captivity than in the wild. Though this is bad, I’m still for keeping animals such as orcas in captivity because of the overall good it does for education and conservation efforts.

  3. Ryan,

    That is an excellent point: there seems to be little consensus on average lifespans of orcas in the wild, so my statement about their lifespans in captivity being longer than in the wild is a little unfair, and was sort of a generalization from the fact that the vast, vast majority of animals live so much longer in captivity than they do in the wild. Of course, when you look at an animal like an orca that has few natural predators, it is more challenging to make a captive life longer. So I guess what I really should have said to be safe was that captive orcas have lifespans that are comparable to those they live in the wild, which demonstrates that their core requirements are being well met.

  4. Probably, this article deserves to be of urgent status, because it is really an important issue of animals care. It is really a pleasure, when someone really thinks about animals, particularly orcas, and does not express common statements of animals’ freedom. recently I have watched a related video about orcas being in their natural habitat ( Afterwards, I understood that some species should be raised in captivity, which sometimes might become thair natural environment eventually.

  5. As a former marine mammal trainer (recently left for a spell to do some world traveling) I was a bit nervous at the title but was pleasantly surprised! Anthropomorphism is more dangerous than most people think and it’s that kind of thinking that is going to make way for another Keiko incident. Great post!

Leave a Reply to Emily Cancel reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>