Tag Archives: Sea World

Attention, Playmobil and Mattel! Stop teaching animal disrespect to our children!

Playmobil and Mattel are part of the machine that propagates the world view that animals fall into two camps:

  • Property, or
  • Pests

In this view, only if animals stay out of our way do they escape the logical result of this bilateral world view.

The logical result is that the considerations of humans and its various needs – and human considerations alone – determine the appropriate outcome.

  • Leopard print heel of ridiculous pump

    The leopard skin must warm the cold, dead heart of the chick that wears this pump

    Human hungry?  Eat animal.

  • Human cold? Use animal fur for all-important heel of shoe.
  • Human bored? Use animal for entertainment.
  • Human broke? Use animal to bet on which one could kill another.  Oh, wait, that’s human broke and mean.  Don’t blame your culture.
  • Human mad? Use animal as punching, burning, cutting bag.
  • Human overfishing and depleting fish stocks?  Brand and kill or capture (for the animal as entertainment crowd) animal.
  • Human happy?  Be nice to animal.  Until mad.

Where does the ability to treat animals in this abhorrent fashion originate?  When does it start?

Playmobil, Mattel, the Georgia Aquarium and its cohorts (including its gift shop contractor) all know the answer.  Get ’em while they’re young, before they have a sense of ethics.  Put colorful toys and flashy shows in front of them.  Teach them that animal captivity is a good thing, that it is an expression of our love and appreciation.

Well, all I have to say is that I don’t imagine that you want your children loved or appreciated in this way.  So tell me why it is acceptable to you to ignore an ethical construct that living beings have intrinsic value.  And intrinsic rights to be left to their natural environment.  And that the human mission should be to lessen its footprint in the animals’ natural habitat (oh, and ours, too) to allow them to continue living as they have for millions of years before humans arrived on the scene.

There is an inspiring group of third graders who get this.  Who have been following the news reports on an atrocity being perpetrated on sea lions at the Bonneville Dam in Oregon and Washington.  And who are saying, Don’t kill the Bonneville Sea Lions.  Join them.  Like their Facebook Page.

Tell Playmobil that you’re not buying the load of crap that animal training is acceptable.

Tell Mattel that whales belong in the ocean, not at the Georgia Aquarium or SeaWorld or the Miami Seaquarium, or at Loro Parque.  And that their toy misleads little children into wanting to capture these sentient, intelligent, social

Whale trainer Barbie by Mattel orca

Barbie toy name suggests that she is a friend to marine mammals. With friends like these . . .

creatures.  The toys omit the story that orcas generally die at very young ages in captivity.  And that by captivity marine mammals are being subjected to new illnesses, such as the West Nile Virus.

Tell the Governors of Oregon and Washington and others that sea lions are not the problem and for damn sure shouldn’t be subject to a final solution.

And, as always, just say no the dolphin show.

Governor Kitzhaber, put away your Whale Trainer Barbie and grow up to the fact that there is such a thing as ethics not rooted in human expediency.


An epidemic that could be ended

There is an epidemic on this planet.  Even though we are aware of it.  Even though we could stop it from spreading.  Even though we could cut out the delusional and disingenuous cancer that it is.  Even though we could educate people to its true nature.

Why aren’t we stopping it?  Why are we not curing ourselves of something that is infinitely curable?

Ask The Georgia Aquarium.  Ask SeaWorld.  Ask the Miami Seaquarium.  Ask the Shedd Aquarium.

Ask the Indianapolis Zoo.  Ask Dolphin Quest.  Ask The Mirage.  Ask Dolphin Cove.  Ask Theater of the Sea.  Ask the National Aquarium.  Ask Dolphins Plus.

Ask Florida’s Gulfarium.  Ask to see their living versus their deceased dolphins list.

So, why aren’t we ending this epidemic?  This epidemic of dolphin and whale captivity?

Ask to see their door receipts.

If you watched the video, you know that’s a lot of door receipts.  A lot of hot dogs.  A lot of cola.  A lot of really bad reasons not to end dolphin and whale captivity.

Thanks to TheComanchewolf for the video on Youtube.

Japanese Police Raid in Taiji Will Not Stop Dolphin Activism

Lest anyone read the accounts of the latest attacks on the Cove Guardians in Taiji (where the Japanese law enforcement manufactured a search warrant authorizing them to seize cameras and laptops of U.S. and other nations’ citizens), and be concerned that this may curtail the firm stand of dolphin activists worldwide, let me assure you that you need not worry.

There exist photographs to document the slaughter.  I repeat, one needn’t worry that activists will ever forget or will ever stop short of meeting the goal of dolphin freedom.

Photo by Brooke McDonald, prior to efforts to quash publicity about the slaughter

Neither need fear the dolphins and whales that activists will forget

  • the arrest and detainment of Dutch citizen and Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen;
  • the relentless capture and slaughter of dolphins by 26 fishermen;
  • the direct or indirect participation in the slaughter of dolphins by trainers, brokers, and aquariums by selecting from the slaughter the pretty few whom they will take into a life of captive performing and breeding; or
  • Jiyu, who did not survive the transition from freedom to captivity, from catching her own food to being force-fed by trainers;

or will be dissuaded from seeking an ethical and free life for all dolphins and whales.  No worry necessary that this will stop our efforts.  As is the case with steel, which is strengthened by fire and the hammer, the Cove Guardians and other activists worldwide are watching and learning.

But I must confess that I am worried.  It is not, however, for activists or dolphins.  It is for the casual photographer.  If having laptops and cameras justifies a search warrant . . .

When countries make photographing illegal, we're all in trouble

My camera and I will out and about today, in honor of animals and their champions everywhere, and in particular, The Cove Guardians.

Give the gift of dolphin and orca freedom

This Holiday season, when you receive that solicitation from Sea World, the Georgia Aquarium or another aquarium or swim-with enterprise to buy your family a few minutes in the presence of captive dolphins or whales, just say no.

No matter how “cute” and friendly or massive and majestic they are, when you buy a ticket to the show, you are purchasing cetacean slaughter as well as capture and captive breeding.

Whatever their origin, this captive life is characterized by housing in a morbidly small tank, or occasionally more than one tank, away from the communal and familial groups with whom they live in the wild, with insufficient quality of life, unable to display the behaviors that they have for more than 30,000,000 years.

When you buy that ticket, you are purchasing force-feeding to train them that dead-fish-in-the-hands-of-humans is food.  You are buying a ticket in a crap shoot that the next dolphin or orca will adjust to captivity. Or will survive captivity.  And the stake for each captive is her life.

For a gift this year, why not try spreading the message of freedom and respect for these naturally peace-loving marine animals?  Buy a copy of The Cove for someone who does not yet know of the horrors occurring right now in Taiji, Japan.  Donate to Save Japan Dolphins or buy apparel that saves dolphins.  [Someone in my life is getting a Save Japan Dolphins bracelet and maybe a sweatshirt and a hat or two.  Wonder who?]  Watch the free documentary A Fall from Freedom with your friends and family.  Contribute to the ongoing legal efforts to free Morgan and Tokitai (Lolita).

So push “play” and watch this marvelous video by Gudrun Wiesflecker, if you haven’t already, as you read these last few words.

While the story of captivity is not a pleasant one, the story of willful blindness isn’t either.  The lasting reward of contributing to cetacean freedom, on the other hand, is a gift worthy of any holiday, but especially these now upon us.

It probably will not be the last time I say this to you, but Happy Holidays.  Peace and freedom to you and to all cetaceans, now and forever.

Cove Blue for Jiyu

Dedicated to SeaWorld and the Georgia Aquarium

So, yes, with a measure of fun, I am questioning the factual basis of some of the assertions about dolphin and orca captivity from some dolphin-owning institutions. Assertions about the life spans in captivity being longer than ones in the wild (not true).  Or that the dolphins thrive in captivity (a little harder to quantify, but read on, not true).

Now, before you go all, “Oh, that Martha.  She’s so extreme.  Dolphins are fine in captivity, and there is a valid educational part of the dolphin shows” on me, just take a gander at the educational content of the dolphin extravaganza at the Georgia Aquarium shot by a visitor:

I’m figuring that you’ll be like most of us, including some members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that expressed annoyance, shall we say, upon their exit from just having seen the very same dolphin show.  I believe some of them observed that there was something like, oh, zero educational content in the show.  And I repeat, these were zoo and aquarium people who make their living based upon the acceptability of animal captivity, not we “fringe anti-caps.”

And to the point of whether dolphins like captivity, take a look at the celebration of life in wild dolphins:

compared with live streaming video of captive dolphins:


You’ll have to copy and paste that one in your url; it won’t link live.  It may be a bit of a bother, but believe me, you want to do this to see the whole story.  And if Winter isn’t visible on this web cam, check one of the other ones; Web Cam #1 is where she and her dolphin companion strut their captive stuff for the paying public.

Which side are you on?

To take action for dolphin freedom, just take one step. Call, write, blog, tweet, donate.  I’m betting you’ll see how great it is to stand for these extraordinary beings, and will take one more step after that.


Why Orcas Should not be in Captivity

The magnificent Orca

Naomi Rose, PhD, Senior Scientist for the Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States, has published a white paper which summarizes certain facts relevant to the condition of orcas in captivity versus those who live a natural life in the wild. Dr. Rose points to the following reasons why these marvelous creatures should not be captured or bred and held in captivity:

  • Longevity: Orcas in the wild have a significantly shorter lifespan in captivity than in the wild. Wild males orcas have a maximum life expectancy of 60-70 years; females 80-90 years – comparable to a human life span. No captive male orca has ever lived past 35. Ever. Only two captive female orcas have lived past 40.
  • Causes of death: The most common cause of death in orcas pneumonia, septicemia and other infections. It appears that the ability of veterinary care for captive orcas is too unsophisticated to detect health issues on a time-frame that can intercede and save the individual. A complicating factor in orca health appears to be immunosuppression, which in humans, is known to be greatly exacerbated by depression and stress, both of which are common in the captive orca population.
  • Dental health: Well-documented and common teeth issues in captive orcas which do not appear to the same degree in their wild counterparts. The poor dental health is in part due to the orcas gnawing on metal bars and concrete walls, which breaks the teeth. These broken teeth, most often drilled out as a palliative measure, serve as a direct conduit for infection.
  • Aberrant Behavior: Aggression toward other orcas in the wild is undocumented, while it is not uncommon in captivity. So, too, is mother orca rejection of offspring: uncommon in the wild; common in captivity.
  • Harm to humans: Pay attention to the current OSHA hearing regarding the SeaWorld’s orca program and specifically whether SeaWorld may have knowingly exposed its trainers and other employees to dangerous and life-threatening conditions including Dawn Brancheau. Four humans have been killed by orcas in captivity, while there is no documented case of a wild orca killing a single human.

They do not belong in captivity. They do not thrive in captivity.

Please don’t go to the orca, or dolphin, show. For more information, please watch A Fall From Freedom, a full-length documentary currently streaming over the internet.

Wild Dolphins

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace

A wild dolphin is a beautiful thing, unless you’re Congressman Young (R), Alaska, or the head of the American aquarium and zoo organization, or someone who loves marine mammals soooooo much that they’ve given their lives to studying them in captivity, or a doctor-turned-Congressman who seems to understand the scientific method like no one else.  Luckily so for the rest of us, on that last count.

I’m not even halfway through an April, 2010 hearing on the educational value of dolphin shows, and it is already terribly disconcerting to hear our Washington leadership dance on the fence rail of whether there is any merit that outweighs the personal and species cost of keeping these magnificent animals in captivity.  While their captive life spans are a fraction of what it is in the wild, their shortened lives should not be being someone’s “trained seal.”  Ar ar ar ar ar.

The hearing is quite long, but chocked full of information and possibly misinformation.  But I’ve edited down the entire hearing to 30 seconds that I consider to be the crux of the chasm between those who celebrate the rights of other species to living lives unharrassed by and independent of any human-referenced definition, on the one hand, and those who view animals as being here largely, if not exclusively, to serve humans, on the other.

Cong. Young doesn’t appear to want people  to “let” dolphins “run around loose and wild. . .”  I do.  That is exactly what I want.