Photo credit: Michele Suthers
Photo credit: Michele Suthers

Killer whales should not be held captive

Wonder why you see dozens of people protesting outside theme parks with animals as the star attraction?

These activists will not back down until something is done about animals being held captive. The recent documentary “Blackfish” has raised awareness of the well-being of the orcas SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. uses in its shows, creating controversy.

It is obvious that these orcas are massive animals that are confined in a small space. This movie is an eye-opener about the harsh realities of these enormous creatures and how SeaWorld should not be allowed to hold orcas in captivity.

Working with a 5-ton sea mammal is a life-threatening job that can have bad consequences. Tilikum is the largest orca in captivity, weighing 12,000 pounds, and is being held at SeaWorld Orlando. His life consists of entertaining people for money, swimming in a confined space and then going back into his cell.

Tilikum is linked to three deaths, two trainers and a drifter who happened to jump in the wrong pool. One of the reasons why this creature was driven to kill was all the stress that he endures while in a cell and he just let his aggression out.

According to the New York Daily News, a veteran trainer named Dawn Brancheau was dragged under water and killed by Tilikum, while a crowd of attendees watched in horror in February of 2010 at SeaWorld Orlando. He has killed before, so why would SeaWorld continue to allow Tilikum to stay in captivity?

In the film, you can see some footage of Brancheau, just moments before her death, and you can also see a glimpse of the autopsy report. The whale mutilated the woman and the executives at SeaWorld blamed the trainer, stating that her pony tail was too long. The audacity of knowing that this orca has killed in the past and blaming this poor woman is absurd.

After Brancheau’s death, the only outcome was that SeaWorld now tells its trainers to avoid entering the water with the orcas. The reasons why the executives kept this whale are because they are money hungry and they wanted his sperm. Tilikum is linked to 21 offsprings, 11 which are alive today.

The drifter found in Tilikum’s pool was dismembered and his death made headlines in 1999. What did SeaWorld do? The executives just covered it up to make it look like he was just a stoner who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

According to the movie “Blackfish,” the “experts” at SeaWorld say the life expectancy of a killer whale is 25 to 35 years but that is false. Real experts explain in the film that the whales’ life expectancy is the same as for humans, which explains why they don’t live as long when they are confined in a tiny area.

Whales should not be forced to live at SeaWorld. All their owners do is exploit these creatures to make a profit. SeaWorld ignores the root of the deaths that gave been caused by the whales: Orcas shouldn’t be held in captivity.

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    Eric MillsApr 18, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    A number of newspapers reported that Orlando SeaWorld trainer, Dawn Brancheau was “drowned.” Hardly. According to the coroner’s report, she was scalped, suffered broken ribs and a punctured liver, and was partially dis-membered. It hardly seems that Tilikum was just “playing.” Some professionals have described this orca as “psychotic”–and who wouldn’t be, forced to live in these unnatural conditions for life?

    RECOMMENDED READING: David Kirby’s 2012 book, “DEATH AT SEAWORLD” – a fascinating read, with lots of good info about the problems of captive orcas: dental problems, being routinely drugged, etc. Orcas (aka “killer whales”) neither thrive nor belong in captivity–a true “Crime Against Nature.”

    And also see the 2010 article, “THE KILLER IN THE POOL,” by reporter Tim Zimmermann, which appeared in OUTSIDE Magazine (available on-line).

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium has NO such circus-type acts, yet continues to draw thousands of visitors daily. SeaWorld can and should do likewise. (the Aquarium would be a good place to leaflet.)

    Let’s keep the pressure on in support of Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s bill, AB 2140. ALL LEGISLATORS MAY BE WRITTEN C/O THE STATE CAPITOL, SACRAMENTO, CA 95814. (To follow the bill’s progress, see the website –

    A steady flow of Letters to the Editors around the state over the next year would also be helpful. (Send me your email, I’ll send you a list of newspapers and their email addresses for letters.)


    Eric Mills, coordinator
    email – [email protected]

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Killer whales should not be held captive