It seems counterintuitive that as a society we promote bringing children to aquariums to teach them about different animals and how they live, but what we don’t tell them is how poorly they are being treated in these tiny tanks. Even our schools make field trips to aquariums to promote an educational experience, but there must be other ways we can teach them about the wildlife instead of watching the animals being kept in captivity. A specific example would be the whale. At these aquariums you watch a whale do some tricks while a worker tells you about some fun facts of its species. But what they don’t tell you is that these whales are not supposed to be kept in a small pool to perform the same routine multiple times a day for the rest of their lives. They are supposed to be out in the ocean living a life and creating families of their own. We need to stop promoting trips to the aquariums as an educational experience or as a family fun event. There are other ways to learn about animal life and watching them suffer should not be one of them.
In this article, Former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove talks about the dangers of being a trainer and keeping these whales captive. He talks about how dangerous being a trainer us because these are KILLER whales they are dealing with and they could snap at any moment. There have been many deaths from these whales, yet they still continue to perform and put on these shows as entertainment. He also mentioned the effects being in captivity has on these whales such as the psychological and physical trauma. These whales are supposed to be out living in the wild not being exploited and forced to perform tricks to make an audience happy. He then goes on to talk about how SeaWorld needs to stop it’s breeding program because than there will always be whales in captivity. They need to be placed in a sea sanctuary that is closely related to living in the ocean where they do not need to perform for audiences they can just live the rest of their lives there happily.
This article is about former SeaWorld diver Sarah Fischbeck’s experience of the animal cruelty that went on. She talks about the experiences and trauma that not only the whales went through, but other animals such as dolphins and penguins. These animals took out their anger on each other and would fight constantly harming each other and ripping off skin. Sometimes they would even throw each other over the walls or really injure each other and sometimes the trainers and divers to relieve stress. Some animals refused food or even killed their own babies to save them from the cruel world of being captive. She talked about how the pool for the orcas is now even smaller to try and prevent another death and at least one whale can’t even go from nose to tail since it is only fifteen feet deep now. The whales were very aggresive towards the divers running into the gates and trying to attack them so they knew not to get within arms reach to the gate. The sad part is that they were never even told what to do or given any training if a whale got into the same pool as them which is very dangerous. She revealed some very dark and descriptive details an events that she has witnessed herself even though SeaWorld denies it all in order to keep business going.
This article talks about how SeaWorld claims that the whales bent dorsal fin is due to genetics and how it is just a natural thing to occur. They are lying to the public to try and cover up for their actions. This deformity in their fin is due to their confinement and studies show the difference between a wild orcas injured fin and a collapsed fin on an orca because of captivity and they look nothing alike. SeaWorld tricks people into thinking that this dorsal fin collapse is normal and that it is very common among whales, which it is not. It is most commonly seen in whales that are kept in captivity and rarely seen on wile orcas. If people know the truth then they will be less likely to buy a ticket that is why they made this lie up to make it seem like being in captivity is good for them.
This article talks about how places like SeaWorld have no educational value to children and they don’t learn anything valuable by going, they are just told false information. Schools usually take their students to an aquarium to be an educational experience and to learn about the marine life. But they are really just learning that whales are supposed to be living in these small pools because that is what they see when they go to these aquariums. They do not learn about their real habitats and most of them don’t even know what kind of whale they are watching, they just know it is “Shamu from SeaWorld”. Taking these children here is promoting cruelty, dishonesty, and hypocrisy. Studies prove that kids learn no new facts by attending aquariums and get no valuable lessons out of it so they should stop making it an educational field trip for them overall.
This article mentions SeaWorld San Diego’s last show, which is a big step towards finally freeing the orcas, but what people don’t realize is that San Diego is the only park doing this as of now. Also they are not completely ending the show they are creating a new show to try and focus on the natural behaviors of the whales. But this is not a change for the whales since they will still be kept in captivity and they will still have to perform commands that will have the audience think they are natural, but they are really being forced to do them.
I’m surprised you didn’t mention the announced closing of the Killer Whale show at Sea World San Diego, Chippy. It’s VERY timely news.
You’re right that it’s clearly counterintuitive to use a show-biz performance featuring animals that have never lived in the wild to purportedly educate kids about how animals live.
The danger is that you’ll be so distracted by the news value of the already much-debated topic of ending killer whale shows to add much new thinking to the argument. Your job is never to collect opinions of debaters on “two sides” of an issue and present them as conflicting. Your job is to gather research to bring fresh perspective to an angle others have not considered.
Looking through the text of the news story below (from the CNBC link above), I’m trying to find the counterintuitive angle. Do you see it?
Reply when you find it, or when you develop one of your own. Either way, let me know right away what you’re thinking, and provide some sources that are not recent news links to the “ending of the show” story.
Thank you for the response it was helpful. I am having trouble finding a counterintuitive angle towards this. I want to write about whale captivity and how it harms the health of the whales and that they should be living in the ocean, and not captured for entertainment. I was maybe thinking that I could write about how it is counterintuitive that Sea World has helped to endanger the orca species, since they are the ones who are responsible for capturing them and making them a popular entertainment show. Sea World has slowly been causing the orcas to become endangered over time and they are to blame if the species becomes extinct eventually. Do you think this angle will get enough information and not become a two sided argument?
I think there are countless counterintuitivities in this topic, Chippy. The first and most obvious is the one you’ve identified: to celebrate ocean life and educate the public about the sea, the park takes proud animals out of the sea for the rest of their lives and displays how they behave when trained by humans in an entirely artificial environment AS IF that teaches us something about how the animals live in their natural habitat.
The counterintuitive angle I spotted in the big quote above was this paragraph:
No real reform has taken place, according to Cowperthwaite. Changes to the “show” were designed to ease the consciences of the parkgoers, not the lives of the orcas.
You’ve already identified some sources and there are plenty more to come. I followed your Dodo link to the Change.org page. With just a couple of clicks on links there, I found this essential government document: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/recovery/whale_killer.pdf
and a fascinating and ENTIRELY COUNTERINTUITIVE argument by SeaWorld that going to the park will help save the orcas from extinction:
I also ran across this very useful general purpose marine life website call SeaDocs with many posts about killer whales (health issues and causes of death in the wild).
What I suggest is that you chart your own path to a point of view you can sincerely support. If you feel yourself dividing the material you read into two “sides”—one that reflects your own attitude, and “the opposition” view—bear down on the side you support. Challenge every claim it makes. Follow its evidence back to original sources to see if the originals have been used ethically or perhaps misinterpreted to serve a propaganda point of view.
Research is a process, Chippy. You’re not supposed to go looking for EVIDENCE to SUPPORT your POSITION. If you do, you’ll always find it, but you won’t learn anything, won’t contribute anything new, and will often just play into someone else’s propaganda.
Instead, you’re supposed to go looking for INFORMATION that, once you’ve compiled it, compels you to draw your own conclusions, perhaps very different from your presuppositions. Keep an open mind for as long as you can. Be willing to be surprised.
And let’s keep the conversation going.
Happy to have your reply.
Thank you for the suggestions I think I want to focus on the subject that you mentioned of how Sea World educates the public about the sea by taking them out of the sea for the rest of their lives and displays how they behave when trained by humans in an entirely artificial environment AS IF that teaches us something about how the animals live in their natural habitat. I am going to show that by doing this it teaches the public absolutely nothing about how the whales live in the real world.
I’m with you almost 100% of the way, Chippy. My 5% reservation echoes the suggestion I offered in class today. Investigate the facts EXPECTING to find evidence that whale-taming and display is a sham, but OPEN TO THE POSSIBILITY of surprise. The best outcome of all research is that we learn something unexpected. Keep an open mind and heart. I think you’re right. I think the summary above is correct. But I’d be THRILLED to hear that orcas in captivity are happy, real research goals are met at SeaWorld, and the public learns valuable lessons about marine life by attending a 2pm show. You with me on that?
Yes i agree that would be a very interesting point to write about I will try to look into it to find some evidence
I’m glad to hear it, Chippy. Now, you have some work to do to bring this post into compliance. It has no sources. As you find good ones, add them to this post in Edit Mode. Provide the links so you (and I) can find our way to the sources with ease. And provide a Purposeful Summary for each so you (and I) will know what you believe the value of the article to be in supporting a hypothesis.
Chippy, you haven’t given yourself an assignment here. Reply, please.