Watch this video, via Good Morning America, and see the desperate measures killer whales will resort to when they're forced into a tank that's a fraction of a percentage of their normal environment and made to do tricks appealing to stupid humans instead of composing their pop songs and devising plans for a panglobal peaceful society.
The footage, from a non-fatal attack at SeaWorld in 2006, was just released by David Kirby, author of the new book Death at SeaWorld. "I think she was trying to tell him, 'Hey, I got to go take care of my kid...she's calling for me, and I don't want to perform,'" says Kirby. Yeah. I heard that, too.
I haven't read Kirby's book, but I plan on doing so and getting pissed. Tellingly, its opening author's note states, "Several attempts were made to reach out to display industry representatives and other experts who support killer whale captivity...Few industry defenders were willing to speak on record. SeaWorld turned down interview and fact-checking requests, citing the title of this book as well as Huffington Post commentaries and media appearances I had done." Gee, I wonder why those responsible for the suffering of animals and death of humans would be unwilling to talk.
You can be lazy and trust Wikipedia as your primary source of information and understand this: "Of the very few confirmed attacks on humans by wild killer whales, none has been fatal...Unlike wild killer whales, captive killer whales are reported to have made nearly two dozen attacks on humans since the 1970s, some of which have been fatal." Look at how easy that is — no math required. Killer whales hate being held captive and they lash out because they're smart enough to know how fucked up it is. That's to say nothing of its physiological effects, like the collapsing dorsal fin, which is probably due to atrophy but looks a lot like depression. It is, at the very least, depressing.
No one likes a PETA shrew, but the cruelty involved in keeping these creatures trapped is nothing short of savage. Read the words of former trainers, actual experts who have hands-on experience with these animals. The words of Ric O'Barry in the 2009 documentary The Cove cemented my conviction of just how wrong the captivity of marine mammals is. In that brilliant film, O'Barry, the trainer of the original Flipper dolphins, tells the story a captive dolphin committed suicide in his arms. This man had every financial reason to suppress this information, but he devoted his life to the truth instead.
In closing, making peace and friends with whales is in our best interest — when the tides rise and they take over the world, you'll be happy that you got in good before everyone. Maybe one will let you hitch a ride even.