Tag Archives: whale

And the misinformation continues about belugas in captivity

Juno beluga whale Mystic Aquarium

Juno has always been “under glass,” having been born in captivity. This photo moment is a disgusting excuse for keeping wild animals out of their natural element. Photo by Andrey Antov, Solent News

The content in this “news” piece is offensive.  To me. To anyone who respects life.  To the truth.  It is offensive because it is, whether Mail Online realized it or not when it published this tripe, a piece whose one result is to create another “how darling” moment that justifies in the small-minded and those who would not examine the truth of the natural world and the falsity of the unnatural one, the thinking that the captivity of cetaceans is acceptable.  Because one little girl somewhere feels something about an animal that will never have a natural life, will never know the life that it deserves.

And this reporter, Ms. Edwards, has the audacity to suggest that the animal is “bonding” with that little girl.  Really?  While I wouldn’t argue that Veronica had some special moments, those moments must not, must never be purchased at the price of the self-determinative rights of another creature.  Veronica’s parents, who are likely otherwise intelligent, are inculcating in their daughter the ugly arrogance of homo “not so” sapiens, the thinking that wild animals for our amusement is acceptable.

I am nearly speechless.  And can only say that I trust that if you are reading this, you are not taken in by this misinformation.  If you don’t already know this, please watch this new film by Earth Island Institute Philippines, In Solidarity with Ric O’Barry, A Fall from Freedom, and this video by the International Fund for Animal Welfare that shows the process of how beluga whales, if not Juno’s parents specifically, were ripped from stable families in the ocean so that someone somewhere could say, “Ah, how cute,” and snap a few pics for a photo album, or newspaper fluff piece.

Parents, no “how cute” moment can ever justify cetacean captivity.  Even if it’s your little girl.  Correction: especially if it’s your little girl.  She deserves to learn the truth and beauty of respecting life.

Why focus on the aquarium industry? Think on a quantum level.

As I stand shoulder-to-shoulder both literally and figuratively with people around the planet in order to end the captivity of dolphins and whales, I am often rebuffed by those who are walking into an aquarium with the question, “Why dolphins and whales?  Why not some other creature?”

While there are many responses, here is what I’m thinking this morning:

I work to end the captivity of dolphins and whales, because it is there where we take animals not only out of their habitat, but we do this at a most fundamental level:  we take away their water.

What we give them in return is some artificial, manufactured approximation of sea water.   What I am focusing on is sea water versus land.  While it is also true that land animals who are held in zoos are not kept in their natural habitats, only the worst hell-hole-of-a-zoo does not give them dirt.  In most cases, it is clean dirt.  Is some bad zoos, it is filthy, putrid dirt, with animals living in their own waste.  There may be some places where they are kept in buildings, in the dark with no proper air circulation (think certain carriage horses in the city of Atlanta, and likely elsewhere), but there, even air they get, however, putrid and high in ammonia.  I am not saying that this kind of treatment of land animals is acceptable; I am suggesting, however, that we are taking away something more fundamental than location when we strip away the freedom of dolphins and whales and place them in tanks.

For marine animals, we have taken away their water.  The very medium of their existence.  Aquariums, by and large, take chlorinated, city water, and add salts and whatever else the aquariums need to add in order to not kill the animals, and call it done.  Now, granted, they do this everyday, with expensive filtration systems, and test kits, and are proud to tell how frequently the entire water volume is circulated through a filter or filters.  But really, how is that a good thing?  Other than to not kill outright, on the first day, the “asset” that they purchased and are holding in a small, artificial tank.

The fact that we also put these creatures – who use echo-location to not only survive, but also thrive – into sound-bouncing chambers, adds to the body of evidence that the aquarium industry has as an imperative the disregard of the true nature of these animals.  The aquariums MUST ignore the true nature of dolphins and whales in order for the aquarium industry to survive.  And for their banks accounts to thrive.

The time has come for us to recognize that we are not the boss of marine mammals.  We are the boss of us.  And the helper of everything else.

  • If we can help clean their water, then we should.
  • If we can help stop the extinctions we are causing and contributing to, then we should.
  • If we can help stay out of their calving grounds, then we should.
  • If we can help by not using gill nets and long-lines, then we should.
  • If we can help by stopping overfishing, then we should.
  • If we can help by leaving them alone, to live free and wild in the oceans, in their water, then we should.

End Captivity Now.  Take a pledge to never again go to a dolphin show.

And if you are feeling appreciative of your freedom and want to ensure that no more dolphins have their freedom taken away, and their families killed, off the coast of Taiji, Japan, on August 31/September 1, join a demonstration near you at one of 90 cities worldwide.

Leave them free and wild in their beautiful, blue water and all the quanta therein.

Striped dolphins living free in the ocean

Striped dolphins living free in the ocean, in their water, not some artificial glump that we manufacture just to keep them alive for the next show.

 

AJC is again in the groove with the Georgia Aquarium

No aquarium no tank in a marine land Jacques Cousteau dolphins whales

Jacques Cousteau probably never imagined that, once we imprisoned marine mammals, we would also assault them with sound

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published a story about the Georgia  Aquarium that reveals, once again, that the AJC and the Georgia Aquarium are in the groove, in synch, singing from the same sheet of music, and any other music metaphor you can imagine.  To the beluga whales and dolphins held at the Georgia Aquarium, there is nothing harmonious about it.

This “news” should be disturbing to humans when they understand that holding the whales and dolphins in tanks is holding them, quite literally, in a sound-bouncing chamber of horrors.  The horror arises because dolphins and whales live, communicate, hunt, explore – generally experience their world – through sound, or echolocation, more than sight.  And when humans comprehend this, they will also understand that adding more sound to their sound-bouncing chamber is truly one of the worst things we could do to them in captivity.

Knowing that these tanks are sound-bouncing chambers should make us take care that we minimize the sound impacts.  But what does the Georgia Aquarium do?  It adds insult to injury by injecting additional extraneous noise, which we call music, to that chamber.  Imagine yourself as sound-based creature in a tank which is connected by lots of solid floors, pipes, walls, steel supports directly to the music system.

Imagine the thump, thump, thump of even the most melodious music injected, reflected, and amplified – at much higher velocities than in air – to that chamber.   In salt water, sound travels around 4.5 times faster than in air.  In the concrete tank, floor, walls, ceilings? Sound travels even faster than 4.5 times faster than in air.  In the steel beams that hold the Aquarium together?  Even faster – somewhere around 10 times faster than in air.

By the time the Georgia Aquarium visitors have heard even the very first note, the dolphins and whales have heard not only that note, but also the reflection of that first note and its reflection and its reflection – somewhere greater than five times.  Again, before you even hear the first note.

Please re-read that sentence until you get it.

But even with these facts, I am imagining that some of you don’t yet get it.  I understand.  I do.  Part of our difficulty in understanding why this new sound venue at the Georgia Aquarium is a truly horrid event is that humans relate to sound differently than do whales or dolphins.   We take for granted, quite frankly, that if a human lost his hearing, he would able to function and have a full, though soundless, life.  But not so, for the dolphin or beluga whale.  Sound, for the dolphin or beluga, is essential to its life.  The dolphins and whales have evolved to their status of marine predator because of their highly tuned hearing in a medium where sound travels at those much higher velocities.

This chamber of horrors is somewhat like the life-long deaf person who, when fitted with technology that allows him or her to hear, finds that sound is disturbing, and takes off the hearing aid, never to replace it.

But back to the AJC piece.  It did pepper a few facts in amongst its having, once again, missed the reality of captivity for the whales and dolphins.

  • The Georgia Aquarium has, for five years, been exposing its marine mammals and other creatures to an onslaught of sound.
  • Sound travels in “sonic” waves.
  • The Georgia Aquarium has experienced declining revenues in the last year and is looking for more ways to reinvigorate its earnings.
  • When people come to the Georgia Aquarium, they are “gawking” at the beluga whales and other animals.
Maris and baby beluga calf who died five days after its birth

Maris and baby beluga calf who died at the Georgia Aquarium five days after its birth, photo from the Georgia Aquarium

So, please understand that your gawking is harmful to the animals.  If you want your child to appreciate wildlife, then don’t confuse them by having them gawk at animals whose lives are miserable in that tank.  Don’t confuse them into thinking that captivity is either benign or natural.  Teach them to understand echolocation via classroom experiments – exercises that will result in an appreciation that dolphins and whales do not belong in captivity.  Teach them, as Jacques Cousteau tried to teach us, that captivity is anathema to appreciating and protecting wild life.  See dolphins and whales in the wild, from the shore or a kayak.  Quietly.  Respectfully.  In harmony with nature.  Not with a thump of a sound system, no matter how groovy the music.

Say no to the dolphin show;  say no to captivity.

For more information on how you can protect dolphins and whales from being hunted and captured for your amusement, please visit Save Japan Dolphins and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

The Most Commented-on Federal Register Notice – No more wild-caught belugas

I’m presaging a headline that I’d like us to read, “The most comments ever received on a Federal Register Notice.”  What Federal Register Notice do I mean?  Well, it has not yet been published, but if you’re reading this blog, you will hear about it, either here or from Candace Calloway Whiting, Elizabeth Batt, Save Misty the Dolphin, Free the Atlanta 11, or others whose blogs or articles I have not yet had the privilege to read.

Stop Georgia Aquarium from importing wild-caught beluga whales from Save Misty the Dolphin

Stop Georgia Aquarium from importing wild-caught beluga whales, photo from Save Misty the Dolphin

Artist for the Ocean has created a Facebook event, so if you do FB, this is a central place for info, petitions and events relevant to the beluga importation issue.

Candace, if I may be so bold as to address her that familiarly, has already provided  information regarding the process of commenting on a permit application.  But I just want to add “a few words,” because, well, I have this view that blogging is useful.

A few words:

  • Have you ever wondered how to comment on a proposed regulation or permit issued by the Federal Government?
  • Haven’t you ever wanted to participate in this process to which the public – well, except for the lobbyists – often pays little attention?
  • Wouldn’t you like to write a reasoned comment to the Federal government and see the government’s response, in writing, to your question or concern published in the Federal Register?

Me, too!

One of the really cool things about our Federal Government is that, in most contexts, it must consider and respond to the public’s comments that are timely submitted, in this case, during a public comment period.  If the comments are reasoned and reasonable comments, the government’s job of responding must be similarly reasoned and reasonable.

As it so happens, there’s a public comment period coming up regarding the Georgia Aquarium’s attempt to import 18 wild beluga whales into the United States for the captivity industry.  We won’t know when, as Candace’s article summarized, until the Georgia Aquarium’s permit application is published in the Federal Register.

Why this is so  important is that it has been a verrrrrrrry long time since an American aquarium imported wild-caught whales or dolphins into the United States.  Sure, the Georgia Aquarium imported their first two belugas from Mexico, but that was a genuine attempt to provide relief to two whales who, reportedly, did not live in ideal conditions.  The importation of those whales reportedly improved their individual chance of survival and their quality of life and access to medical care.

When, however, a whale is a member of a stable, wild community, living in its home migration path in the ocean, and we choose to pluck it out of the ocean – at significant risk that the whale will be injured or worse – well, that is a horse of a very different color, don’t you think?

So stay tuned, put on your thinking cap, peruse the NOAA website, and get ready to make this permit application the most commented-on, ever.

In the meantime, sign the petition and on July 21, come stand at the Georgia Aquarium to say at their front door, “In my country, we do not import wild-caught cetaceans.”

Georgia Aquarium wants this beluga whale to live in a tank

A free beluga whale, in the Arctic where it should stay, photo by John Ford. The Georgia Aquarium wants 18 of these free beluga whales to live in a tank.

Translation software for the cetacean captivity industry – Georgia Aquarium announces intention to capture belugas

While doing research on the effort by the Georgia Aquarium to import more wild-caught beluga whales, and to increase the population of the belugas whales in the United States by more than 50 percent, I have found that some of the translation software out there results in pretty much garbage sometimes.  I noticed this, too, during efforts to stop the dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan.

Baby beluga whale, now at the Alaska Sea Life Center

A baby beluga whale was recently rescued, but this doesn’t help enough with the captivity industry’s gene pool problem

So, it is with some not small relief that I tell you about a translation software that I think finally works.  I want to show you the translation of the Georgia Aquarium’s blog about its intentions to import 18 beluga whales into the United States, which it published two days after the first news broke.

Here goes, the Georgia Aquarium’s text in italics, followed by the translation software’s version in bold text.

Georgia Aquarium Leads Conservation Efforts for Beluga Whales

Transl Georgia Aquarium Leads Effort to Import more Wild-caught Captive Beluga Whales

Georgia Aquarium is taking a leadership role in the zoological community to conserve and protect beluga whales everywhere. The beluga whale is listed on the IUCN as a “near-threatened” species. Through the study and observation of belugas in human care, we continue to gain a better understanding of their biology, physiology and diseases that affect them, all with the goal of learning how we can help those populations in their natural habitats. Georgia Aquarium is proud to take a bold step to ensure the care and understanding of belugas in human care and in the wild. We recognize the immense knowledge and education that the study of these animals can provide, and we aim to inspire the public to conserve and protect the species.

Transl:  The Georgia Aquarium leads a worldwide effort to increase the captive beluga whale population and wants the public to believe that it has something, anything to do with conservation of the species in the wild.

Transl:  We once did the right thing by retrieving two very distressed beluga whales from horrid conditions, but now we want to do more than rescue belugas.  We want to charge $169.95 for the honor of having an experience with an animal that was ripped from its wild life, its life with its family.  And so we need more whales.  If we don’t capture the beluga whales, all the beluga whales in the wild will disappear.  The research that we just paid for showed that taking more beluga whales from the wild will not negatively impact the wild populations.

Me here: I’ll just point out very quietly from the corner, that those last two statements cannot logically coexist.  I don’t think Billsy or the Georgia Aquarium understand that.  Really? Okay, so I’m not surprised.  I knew that they didn’t understand their impact on cetaceans, but now I also know that they don’t understand even logic.  Don’t you need logic for scientific research?  Jus sayin’.

As part of an initiative to maintain a sustainable population of belugas in human care, Georgia Aquarium supported an important research project to learn more about a population of animals from which whales have been collected by Russian scientists in the Sea of Okhotsk in northern Russia. This extensive body of research has been reviewed by our peers and validated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, also known as IUCN. In full accordance with the Animal Welfare Act, U.S. and international law, the bylaws of the zoological associations to which Georgia Aquarium belongs, Georgia Aquarium will acquire beluga whales which originated from the Sea of Okhotsk. In its review of the research, the IUCN found this acquisition will have zero negative impact on the native population.

Transl: We need the population of captive beluga whales in the United States to be stable and growing.  We paid a lot of money to acquire research that would show that if we take more belugas from the wild, we won’t hurt the wild population’s stability.  These laws give credibility to our position, but I hope no one reads them and finds out that we pretty much set our own standards, and the IUCN is pretty much toothless, so who cares what it says anyway.

We have applied for a permit to bring these animals to the United States. After we welcome the animals to the U.S., the whales will make their home at Georgia Aquarium and other leading accredited aquariums and zoological parks in North America and will become part of a collective breeding program among these institutions known as a Species Survival Plan. Georgia Aquarium is proud to take this bold step in beluga conservation and is excited to show our new belugas the same love and care that we give to all of our animals.

Transl: We really, really want to increase the number of captive beluga whales.

Please watch as Georgia Aquarium Chief Zoological Officer William Hurley explains more about our beluga conservation project.

Transl: Please watch our carefully scripted attempt to dig out of the hole caused by the AJC article.

You know the moment in The Wizard of Oz where the Cowardly Lion shares his vision of what he would do as King of the Forest?  Well, the translation software reveals that my entire blog can be translated into, “I’d wrap ’em up in celephant.”

And to help stop this atrocity before it goes further, please sign the petition:

Namaste.

 

The Georgia Aquarium wants 18 more beluga whales

The Georgia Aquarium wants 18 more beluga whales, but someone doesn’t want you to know about it.  At least not yet.  Or maybe it’s just one of those computer glitches that I don’t even pretend to understand.

A Google search earlier today regarding the Georgia Aquarium and beluga whales revealed the following links and more:

Georgia Aquarium want to import 18 beluga whales

Seek and ye shall find on Google.

See that one, pretty much right at the top of the bottom third of the page, the one entitled, “Georgia Aquarium plans to bring more belugas into the country.”  Well, when you clicked it, it took you here.

Georgia Aquarium want to import 18 beluga whales

Unless it’s a page that has been taken down since it went to the search engines

Page could not be found.  Well, crap.  That’s a mystery.  The link indicates that, mere days after the Georgia Aquarium saw the death of Maris’ five-day-old beluga whale calf, it is announcing the plan to get more belugas.  That is, to bring them into the country.

Well, not really announcing.  More like, announcing and then unannouncing.  Or accidental press releasing.  Or something.  I don’t pretend to understand.

Oops, is all I’ll say.  I didn’t realize that catching and bringing beluga whales into the United States was, well, allowed.

And I’m thinking somebody hit the “Publish” button instead of the “File Save” button before they could submit it for editing.

Did I say, “Ooooops.”

Dang.  Woulda loved to have read that story.

Oh, wait.  I can.  I did.  And so shall you, thanks to the computer sleuthing skills that I wished I had.  Can I just say, Deep Throat.  Or Smoking Man?

Here, via the awesomeness of a really smart individual and Google cache, or some such, is the rest of the story.  This time, I’m not ruining it for you.  Yet.

Georgia Aquarium Plans to Bring More Belugas Into the Country

But, geez.  Is that legal?  I’m not saying it.  But you’re thinking it.  I suspect that, strictly speaking, it may be.

But is it right?  The time is now to stop this silly make-up-a-story-to-get-more-highly intelligent-beings-into-captivity business.  Yes, business.

When you read the article, they might have almost convinced you that they’re doing this for the belugas.  But you’re smarter than that.

Georgia Aquarium wants to import 18 beluga whales

“Georgia Aquarium plans to bring more belugas into the country.” Into the country. Into the country.

 

Let’s compare two recent baby beluga stories

Beluga Whale Maris and Baby at the Georgia Aquarium

Maris and calf at the Georgia Aquarium, unattributed photo from Georgia Aquarium Facebook page

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two recent news stories.  Both involved beluga whale calves.  The first involved the birth and premature death of a calf born to Maris, a beluga whale who arrived at the Georgia Aquarium in 2005.

I have heard that the baby beluga was a full forty pounds underweight at birth.  Born underweight, not healthy.  Lived only five days.

Baby beluga whale, now at the Alaska Sea Life Center

Baby beluga whale rescued – can’t she be kept in a sea pen? Photo by Associated Press.

The second story involves a different baby beluga whale.  A baby beluga born in the wild.  And even though she was separated from her mother and cannot survive without nursing, this baby seems to be doing better than Maris’ baby.  Even with all those experts and blood samples taken from Maris’ baby.  But that’s another post for another day.

This second baby beluga whale was found in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, separated from its mother, perhaps in a storm.  A baby beluga whale nurses from the time it is born until it is approximately two years old.  But this baby beluga, at only two to three days old, somehow survived separation, however brief, from its mother.  And even being separated from its mother, this baby was healthier than the one born to Maris, in captivity.

Now, you may be thinking that it’s not fair to draw far-reaching conclusions based on two examples, where there are many variables, far more than any of us knows.  And I think you’d be right.

But I’m not drawing any conclusions based on these two examples.  I’m just relaying two stories.  I already know that captivity is inherently cruel, that captivity of these sentient creatures, even in a habitat larger than the far-too-small one at the Georgia Aquarium, is wrong.

I’m also sending out a plea to those in control of the wild baby beluga to put on your thinking caps to find ways to help the chances of her being released.

But two stories.  One of a little calf born to captivity that didn’t have much of a future.  But who died before she could live out that destiny.  The other of another calf, now destined for a lifetime of captivity.  Unless someone gives him access to the ocean, tries to find the little wild one’s mother and family now now now, cares for him in a sea pen where he can retain some ability, however slight, to communicate, he will end up, like Maris, being seen as someone’s broodmare or, like Beethoven, Maris’ deceased calf’s father, a stud.

Please, captivity industry.  Do better for this little rescued butterball than keeping him in a landlocked concrete box where it is less likely that he will be found to be releaseable.  Keep him in a sea pen near where he was found.  Listen for his family.  Let him try to communicate with them.

Thank you to all the workers and volunteers who work for these animals, trying to save them and restore them to freedom.

Baby beluga at Georgia Aquarium dies – despite Maris’ having “stood up to her end of the bargain”

I am almost speechless. So I’ll be brief.

Beluga Whale Maris and Baby at the Georgia Aquarium

Maris and “her end of the bargain” at the Georgia Aquarium, unattributed photo from Georgia Aquarium facebook page

Georgia Aquarium’s official statement, as quoted in the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, notes that the baby beluga whale, born on May 18, 2012, in the Georgia Aquarium, died today, despite Maris having “stood up to her end of the bargain.”

What bargain was that, Georgia Aquarium?

I’m just curious as hell. What was Maris’ bargain with you?

I have to say it again: Billy Hurley, Chief Zoological Officer at the Georgia Aquarium, said today, when interviewed about the death at the Georgia Aquarium of the baby beluga whale, “Maris stood up to her end of the bargain…”

The crassness of that statement – while not truly surprising, since Mr. Hurley doesn’t know the difference between dolphins, on the one hand, and dogs or horses, on the other – crossed the line.

What line is that?

It’s the line that reveals that the people who are entrusted with the care of these highly intelligent and sentient beings are incapable of appreciating this intelligence and sentience. It’s the line that reveals that the Georgia Aquarium views its dolphins, beluga whales and whale sharks as merely assets to grow a bottom line. It’s the line that reveals the aquariums’ willingness to tell only part of the story to preserve that “asset”. It’s the line that reveals the call for an immediate rehabilitation and release of these creatures to their god-given life in the wild.

If you had any doubt about these issues before, I trust that Mr. Hurley’s revealing comment got through to you and that you will sign a petition, sponsored by the Born Free Foundation, to end captivity for whales and dolphins.

So, to Mr. Hurley. Back to that bargain that you struck with Maris, what did you promise in return? Another chance to reproduce a baby that would either live its life in captivity, or die as your organization predicted it would? More captivity? Or did you promise something more lofty, like, you would continue to feed her in a small tank of salitified chlorinated artificially-cooled water?

That must be comforting to Maris, in this time of a mother’s grief.

I know, you and I are on the other side of that line, so I could stop there. But then Mr. Hurley said, after complimenting Maris on holding up her end of the bargain, “We will not give up.” Another question, Mr. Hurley. Not give up on what? Having Maris impregnated again, when you know the odds are against the baby’s, or babies’, survival?

Just sign the Born Free Foundation petition to end whale and dolphin captivity. You know he’s wrong.

Baby beluga at Georgia Aquarium – in critical condition

Maris and calf at Georgia Aquarium

From Georgia Aquarium FaceBook page, uncredited

As horrific as the birth of a beluga to captivity is, the Atlanta Journal & Constitution manages to add insult to injury by making a baby bib crack in its opening line.  You know, the line that is supposed to capture the essential facts of the story.  But the insensitivity of the AJC is no real surprise here.  The AJC has been relentless in its support of the aquarium.  Although before the aquarium opened, it did have one pro-con piece, since then, it’s just been one long promotional campaign.

Maris Georgia Aquarium beluga whale

Maris, beluga whale born July 28, 1994, in captivity

The Georgia Aquarium began months ago preparing us for the death of the unborn beluga that Maris was carrying, by pointing out the factual statistic that about half of the belugas born in captivity die as infants.

So why does the Georgia Aquarium continue this larcenous breeding program?  Why not rehabilitate the belugas and dolphins for a life in the wild and release them?

Why?  Because they want to keep charging you money to have parties with Maris, Beethoven et al. in the window on the other side of your wedding reception, your corporate Christmas party, as well as the tours through the

Beethoven beluga whale Georgia Aquarium

Beethoven, beluga whale, born August 8, 1992, in captivity

exhibit, and the new “encounters” with the belugas.  And since they are not allowed to intentionally capture them just to let your rather shallow-if-romantic son propose to his soon-to-be affianced in front of the beluga tank, they have to breed them in captivity.

Hold on, young one.  Hopefully we can in the not-too-distant future secure your release with your mother and father.

In the meantime, we’ll tell the AJC that humor about the possible death of a newborn baby beluga whale is in bad taste, even for them.

For more information, there’s the enemy to dolphin and whale freedom’s blog.  They may be the enemy, but they are also the horse’s mouth.

The irony of entertainment bedfellows

Jut a few words, as I swallow just a bit of vomit in my mouth.

“Why did you vomit, Mo?” I can hear you thinking inquisitively.  Well, this morning it came to my attention that the World’s Largest Aquarium is screening a movie.

“Why would that make you vomit!!?” you’re continuing to turn over in your laudably open mind.

Well, it’s the comingling of mutually contradictory facts, also known as irony.  Sometimes irony is amusing.  But sometimes it makes you vomit.  Today was a vomit kind of irony.  The facts in today’s not so pleasant irony?

  • Fact 1:  The Georgia Aquarium is the World’s Largest Aquarium.  It sought and gained that status as a result of having built dolphin tanks – as little as 8 feet deep for a creature that in the wild dives hundreds of feet on a regular basis – and brought dolphins in from where they had been captive bred, well, except for the one dolphin that was caught in the wild.

Now, that’s a video you should watch – of dolphins being wrested from the ocean, trapped in nets, crying, trying not to drown, separated from their family.  Sometimes getting free, but because it refuses to leave its family, is recaptured.

It’s also the World’s Largest Aquarium because of having to build a large tank in order to house one of its other attractions, the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, which were, not so incidentally, or coincidentally, caught in the wild.

  • Fact 2:  The World’s Largest Aquarium (built so that it can house lots and lots and lots of animals that should be swimming free in the wild) is screening a movie.  I know you’re still not getting why that would make me vomit.  Well, the movie is a fictionalized account of an effort in the 1980s by a Greenpeace staffer of rescuing some free and wild grey whales that were trapped in the ice off the coast of Alaska.

Oops.  Vomited again.

They’ve included the price of the ticket to the movie – the one about saving the wild humpback whales so they would continue to live free lives – in with the price of seeing dolphins, beluga whales and whale sharks (and the list goes on) that will live in captivity until they die a likely premature death.

Here’s that video that I said you might want to watch:

Urp.

But it isn’t the irony that gets me; it’s the hypocrisy.

The big miracle is that I didn’t blow chunks.

So, go see the movie if you want.  But see it without the hypocrisy.  See it at a theater where they don’t at the same time that you’re saying “free the whales” make their living dependent on your thinking that captivity is okay.