Imagine being cruelly and forcefully abducted and taken from your home. Picture yourself placed in a relatively small space, where you are trained to carry out ridiculous, unnatural tricks, only to be forced to perform them in front of large audiences for the duration of your life.
Unfortunately, this is the reality of so many helpless animals, including the marine mammals at SeaWorld Parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando. Just last month, tragedy struck at SeaWorld Orlando when Tilikum, a 12,000 pound orca whale, killed his trainer, Dawn Brancheau.
SeaWorld Orlando, however, has decided that the show must go on; they plan to resume their popular killer whale shows and eventually begin to use Tilikum again in the future.
Meanwhile, organizations such as PETA are pushing to free these entrapped marine mammals from show business and return them to where they belong: the ocean. One might argue that these animals are being sufficiently cared for and are given relatively large tanks to live in. They may even go so far as to say that these animals are not being mistreated or harmed in any way. What they fail to realize is that removing these animals from their natural environment and forcing them to perform silly tricks is highly abusive in and of itself.
In today’s society, Americans continuously pay money for entertainment, tuning in to sporting events, music festivals, and the like. However, when the entertainers are no longer human beings, and are instead live animals, a big fat line must be drawn.
Taking helpless animals from their natural habitats and training them for circuses, magic shows, and amusement park attractions such as those in SeaWorld is unnecessary and heartless. These animals are kept in cramped living spaces highly unlike the natural world they are accustomed to; yet as long as money is being made off these shows, they continue to be overworked and pushed to deliver.
It should come as no surprise when the animals finally lash out and their basic instincts kick in, possibly creating an unsafe situation for those around them.
The pressures of learning and performing stunts in front of large amounts of people daily, and the inability to verbally refuse, are enough to push them to the edge.
As we saw last month, innocent lives may be taken as a direct result of the animals’ imprisonment. In the recent SeaWorld tragedy, just as in the similarly unfortunate incident back in 2003, when Las Vegas entertainer Roy Horn was attacked by his tiger, neither the animal nor the trainer was to blame.
Despite the significant bond between trainer and animal, it must not be forgotten that these are creatures with incredible strength. For this reason, parks such as SeaWorld should free their marine mammals and follow PETA’s suggestions to turn to technology for new and improved shows, with the use of animatronics and virtual simulations to create equally entertaining attractions.
By doing so, SeaWorld will be treating marine mammals humanely and preventing future deaths from occurring while still making money. A win win situation for all.