What is it with dolphins and whales? Why on earth do we seem to think that it is OK to catch them from the wild, stick them in concrete tanks in water that is full of chemicals, train them to perform inane tricks and then say they love it?
Anyone who hasn’t seen the film Blackfish yet (see BBC4 9 pm on Thursday 21st November, and again on Monday 25th ), I strongly recommend you do if you want to understand what life in captivity is like for an orca and the lengths to which the captive industry will go to profit from their captive exploitation and to keep the public oblivious to the truth. This is your one-stop shop of horrors.
If you want to go from the sublime to the ridiculous then look no further than Stephen the beluga. Born in captivity in Russia this unfortunate individual is now in Pakistan (yes, Pakistan, known for its highly developed sense of marine mammal welfare). Stephen will be performing three times a day at the Maritime Museum in Karachi and I sadly predict his chances of long-term survival are slim.
And if you have to ask yourself why does the captive industry go to such lengths to acquire and hold on to animals like orca, beluga and dolphins, it is because they are so commercially valuable.
I just returned from Tenerife where I saw Morgan (a young wild-caught female orca, originally from Norway via the Netherlands to Tenerife) performing at Loro Parque. A young breeding female in a captive population of orca worldwide that is heavily inter-related. I am told she is worth US10 million – a new blood-line.
I watched the show with a sinking feeling.
Conservation? It was conspicuous by its absence.
Education? A veneer on the surface of the pool.
Morgan should be back with her wild family off the coast of Norway doing what wild orca do but until we can persuade the tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of tourists that go to these shows that this is not something they should be supporting, then the mighty Euro, Dollar and Yuan, rules the day.
Stay away and don’t give these water circuses the profits they crave and spread the word to friends, family, and everyone you know.
In the 1970’s there were numerous captive dolphin shows in the UK. Today there are none. Freedom is not a dream!