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SeaWorld - Are animals rescued or captured?
in Science

By agsragsr 859 Pts
We just visited the San Diego SeaWorld.  Throughout the visit there is consistent messaging how animals are fortunate to be rescued and enjoy their stay there.  
Looking at the negative publicity SeaWorld has been getting about inhumane treatment of Killer whales and other animals I wonder how much of that is propaganda va reality.  Are these animals really being rescued or being captured and forced to perform against their will?

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    Sea World - Rescued or Captured?

    5 votes
    1. Rescued
    2. Captured?
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  • Well, now, it would be weird to treat a killer whale in a humane way, provided the whale is not a human, would it not?
    Okay, let us get serious...

    Suppose one day aliens invade Earth and take you away. Their reasoning is altruistic: they want to save you from the life on this cruel planet. So they move you to a sterile environment somewhere in the Psi System. They feed you well, they provide quality medicine, and as a result your life expectancy is many centuries. You live in a small enclosed space, entertaining the alien tourists. 
    Would you feel rescued, or captured, in this scenario?

    See, one can only be "rescued" provided that one needs the rescue. You cannot "rescue" someone against their will. Putting someone in a glorified jail does not look much like a rescue, does it? Now, I cannot read the mind of a dolphin from the SeaWorld, but it is not a stretch to assume that the dolphin would rather cross the oceans, than entertain tourists in a tiny pool for food.

    At the same time, I would argue that the SeaWorld and other similar establishments serve a good purpose, even if the methods are relatively barbaric. In our everyday lives, we are not exposed to animals much, and those animals we are exposed to regularly (geese, squirrels, deer, pigeons, skunks, etc.) we treat as pests anyway. But when someone gets into a zoo or an aquarium, everything changes: they see animals they would never see otherwise in all their glory, and they experience a strong sense of connection to them.
    However ruthless it sounds, the (compared to the wilds) terrible conditions those several killer whales live in in the SeaWorld may, in the long run, save thousands of wild killer whales. So, while I do feel sorry for the whales, I would like the narrative of the animal rights activists to be a bit more temperate. They need to be able to see the other side of the issue, to be able to offer compelling solutions to the problem. "Demolish all aquariums and zoos" is clearly not a solution.

    Finally, we cannot release the captive animals in any case: killer whales deprived of the experience of learning how to survive on their own in the wilds would quickly die to one of the thousands deadly things in the ocean, were they released there. While I would agree that building new aquariums and zoos and actively capturing animals to feel them with would, at best, be controversial, for the animals already in captivity the best we can do is to make their living conditions as good as possible. The wild world is closed to them forever, and as sad as it is, we must accept it, for their good.
    And in this regard, the US, Australia, New Zealand and other zoo/aquarium kings have done a stellar job. Jail is jail in any case, but the jails built for the animals in these countries are absolutely fantastic. I was in the Houston Zoo a few weeks ago, and the animals there genuinely seemed happy - that is, as far as I could tell from their behavior (they obviously could not smile). They are well taken care of, fed well, treated medically well, and a lot of personnel is attached to watch over them and entertain them. Captive animals in these countries are as good as they can be, and that is something to be commended.

    And even more so, many zoos and aquariums are actually to thank for certain species not having gone extinct. A few wolf subspecies would be history, had it not been for a conglomerate of zoos making it a point to preserve them.

    To summarise, it is all very complicated. One thing though is certain: the captured animals themselves can in no way be considered "rescued". They may contribute to the preservation of their species, for example, but they themselves are nothing more than captured trophies, and we better acknowledge the facts, than try to whitewash them. Acknowledging the facts will only be better for the animals in the long run, as well as for us.
  • agsragsr 859 Pts
    @MayCaesar, excellent argument.  
    One of the arguments from the Rescuers is that they provide medical care and nourishment to the animals.  To your point though they can’t be considered rescued.  
    Live Long and Prosper
    I agree that a captured animal is in no way rescued. An Orca is a highly intelligent (by human standards) apex predator molded by nature over an inordinate period of time to fit perfectly where they are found. In massive bodies of water and dining on things they’ll never receive the same way in captivity. Performing stunts to get a bucket of fish guts tossed at them isn’t really the same as hunting in the open ocean. Even so, people want to pay for these things to happen otherwise they’d go out of business and stop “rescuing” things from their natural habitats. Also Orcas aren’t endangered to my knowledge so a few lost from the wild may be cruel but not outside of moderation 
  • The cruel thing is they are to be studied while held captive, if not held captive they must be killed to be studied, they were in the past killed to be studied. A rescue is a task which can be complicated by the threat which requires rescuing from. The answer is both the captivity provides a double or triple service the tricks are to educate the public to the abilities the creatures are capable in the wild. It is this severe taking place publicly by Sea World which place them under a constitutional common defense to the general welfare. This would be a whole truth as it may be seen taking place.
  • piloteerpiloteer 748 Pts
    edited May 2019

    I think you make a good point here. There's no way to avoid the double standard of rescuing. Rescuing is captivity. For wildlife rescue to happen, there needs to be money. To get the money, the animals need to perform, or showcased for the public's amusement. If the animals are made to perform, they are being held captive. But sea world is trying to turn a huge profit, unlike zoos which try to keep the emphasis on rescue, and they don't really make the animals perform at zoos. The opposite end of this spectrum would be circuses which put the emphasis on performance. I guess I'd put sea world in with the circuses category. They do have rescue in mind, but in the end, they gotta get them papers!!!
  • @piloteer ;
    I don't see it as just raising money and turning a profit. I see the point you make about zoo's and circus and can agree with that idea without much convincing. The balancing act at see world is in raising a creature at the top of the food chain. Though possibly before your time outside of sharks the killer wales main food source is seal so when removing a animal that hunts to live removing it from that process of physical conditioning, keeping it active to keep the mind and body working is a intricate part of overall health. Not that I am justifying all treatment of animals in sea world there are many animals from the oceans which just do not do well in captivity. 

    If that make sense.
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