Friday, July 27, 2012

Banning "Wet Work" With Killer Whales






"This is about the toughest 10 minutes anybody would ever want to experience!!!!" 





A legal battle over a fatal attack on a female whale trainer at a SeaWorld location has resulted in the release of a video of an earlier incident when a male trainer came a breath or two from death.


SeaWorld has been ordered to stop its employees from swimming with Orcas. The company lost an appeal of that decision but could still press for a higher court to overturn the ruling.
The entertainment company draws thousands of visitors to its locations and many want to see the killer whales perform what they have learned from their human trainers.
While zoos have an educational purpose, SeaWorld appears to be all about animals doing tricks for people. It's no different from old-time sideshows with bears or monkeys trained to ride bicycles or smoke cigarettes.
There is nothing educational about an animal taken from the wild and forced to repeat routines so people can clap.
Some people say the same thing about zoos, but there's a clear difference between hosting animals and training them. One is about reality and the other is entertainment.
You may like zoos or think them archaic. They do serve an educational purpose and seeing real animals makes most of us care more about them; something that can't happen if you just look at pictures or video.
Establishing an emotional connection between people and the live animals they see – albeit in artificial conditions – is a good thing in the long run, because we're more likely to protect things we value.
Even if you like the kind of artificial entertainment presented by SeaWorld and similar parks, there is absolutely no reason to have people in a pool with Orcas. The history of deaths and near-misses is proof that the risk is just too great.
The American Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission looked into the death of a female trainer at SeaWorld's Orlando, Florida, park in 2010. They reviewed a near-death attack videotaped in 2006 and that video was made public this week.
In the lengthy clip, trainer Ken Peters' foot is grabbed by a female killer whale named Kasatka. The whale takes him under water before returning to the surface where she holds onto his foot and ankle for some painful minutes. He eventually swims away and gets out of the pool.
The commission looked at the video and decided SeaWorld knew that trainers and whales don't mix, but simply ignored the risks. The company faces lawsuits from a number of trainers who have worked for the company.
A quick tour of YouTube turns up many whale attacks caught on video. The number of incidents is staggering and it's amazing that the situation has been allowed to continue for so long.
Should people be banned from swimming with killer whales? What if a ban financially cripples SeaWorld and other parks with whales?


9 comments:

GaryHill said...

I always wondered why they didnt have some sore of breathing apparatus that gave them a little bit of a chance if the Orca took them under for longer than most can hold their breath?

Jim A. said...

Gary, I understand whale trainers have a small bottle of air with them. The question is can they get to it. Even more common than the few incidents of serious aggresion in the water are ear, sinus, and back injuries from getting pushed down and then rapidly back up. Rare to find a killer whale trainer over 40. By then the novelty and excitement have worn off and you get tired of hurting. No secret about injuries and danger, many trainers still want to work with orcas.

Lee May said...

KING OF AQUARIA says: "Orky at Marineland of the Pacific took his trainer down to the bottom of the tank and held him for seven minutes once . . . fortunately trainer survived. The trainer slid off Orky's back too soon and the 25-foot, 14,000 pound bull orca was only rewarded when he brought the trainer back to the platform . . . therefore Orky decided to teach the trainer a lesson about screwing him out of a reward."

Jim A. said...

I was down talking with some staff while Kathy and our girls watched a killer whale show at Marineland. Kathy told me it got pretty exciting. She said it appeared the animals were acting "differently". All of a sudden the trainers grabbed the fish buckets and left the small platform mounted to the pool. One of the whales (don't know who) slid out on the platform jaws snapping. End of the show - more memorable than some high jump.

Anonymous said...

I don’t get it

Wade G. Burck said...

Anonymous,
Don't get what? We'll try to go slower for you.

Wade

Bjorn said...

Wade,
in early July or late June Shouka the killer whale at six flags attacked a trainer during the show. Below is the link to the artickle, there als is a link to a youtube clip of the attack in there

http://animalconnectionac.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/shouka-six-flags-killer-whale-attacks-trainer/

Wade G. Burck said...

Bjorn,
Wasn't Shouka captive born in 1992-1993? That might explain the lack of fear/respect of actually coming out of the water, exhibited on the video.

Wade

Bjorn said...

Wade,
Yes she is captive born. She whas born in Antibes France, i dont know wich year she whas born in.