The Tide Is Turning

Sad news earlier this week concerning the last wild-caught Orca at Marineland Antibes, France, as my friend and colleague Samantha Goddard reports in this guest blog:

It has been very sad to hear the news that Freya, one of the six orca at Marineland Antibes in France, had died. Freya may not have been the first orca to have died in captivity but, being the only one to have died so far this year, it has caused me to think about not just the death of a captive animal but also the death of a captive life.

Freya was a wild-caught orca, captured from Icelandic waters in 1982 when she was just a year old. On Saturday the 20th June she died at the age of 32yrs having spent the rest of her life in a tank. In order to get an idea of what Freya may have endured during her captive life I asked one of her former trainers, John Hargrove, author of Beneath the Surface, how he felt about the news. He told me he sensed a feeling of relief that her suffering was over.

Freya gave birth to her son, Valentin, in 1996 after every one of her newborns had died. She was then locked in a tiny back pool with her son for two years after she allegedly became disruptive during shows. Freya was once badly burnt by a malfunctioning chlorine treatment system which meant all the orca could not even open their eyes and, John says,  shed ‘sheets’ of their skin.

John says these are just a couple of the countless experiences endured by Freya which is why I think he summarises the captive life of an orca so well – ‘ Regardless of whether these animals are loved by their trainers, they lead depressing lives of confinement. Freya will no longer have to suffer such exploitation. She is now free from those who took her freedom from her.’”

There are no captive orca or dolphins in the UK and the tide is slowly turning all around the world – the result of long-term campaigning by Born Free and many other dedicated groups and individuals, and, without doubt, the power of the Blackfish effect. Freya is no longer here to bear earthly witness to the end of this form of wild animal exploitation but, without doubt, it is coming.

Blogging off,


11 Responses to “The Tide Is Turning”

  1. Sharon Kramer Says:

    The laws need to get moving and free all whale and large sea creatures back where they belong!!!! Whales should NOT be forsed to stay in a tank, they need open seas!!!! This is cruel and what for? Entertainment for people!! Stop it everywhere!

  2. Michelle Mason Says:

    I am saddened by all the years of torture of these animals but am happy that “maybe” there is an end in site. Can we please end the torture of those that are still in captivity?

  3. candy hine Says:

    RIP Freya,confined for years,and other horrible stuff endured, it’s a wonder she didn’t go mad!I am sorry for what has happened to u 💛

  4. Dana Woodward Says:


  5. Krystyna Von Nathusius Says:

    The greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way it’s animals are treated.
    -Mahatma Gandhi

  6. Elizabeth Titterton Says:

    Freya is at peace, but the fight is not over for all the other animals who have no voice. We are their voice and we ow e it to them to be heard

  7. sue oleary Says:

    This exploitation of captive animals has to stop, I am heartbroken at the news of Freya, but her torment is now over, we have to stop zoos,wildlife parks and any other organisations from keeping animals that should be free to live or swim and not be made to do shows to give so called pleasure to humans, let’s hope that in the future if you wish to see any wild animal you will see them IN THE WILD, thank you

  8. Elaine Warren Says:

    Very sad. There is a Marineland in Niagara Falls,Ontario – I cringe every time I see the commercials. We have no right to capture animals for our amusement particularly in this day and age when imagery and information is readily available to young minds.

  9. Jacqueline Hohmann Says:

    Way to speak up. Thanks for telling the story. May this Orca RIP.

  10. Catherine Clarke Says:

    I am saddened and shamed by the exploitation of wild animals in dolphinarium (4 leftin France) and circuses in my country. The worst is that people don’t seem to be aware of the suffering of these animals. Perhaps it is time to educate French people that it is WRONG to exploit animals in this way.

  11. J Childe Says:

    I just sent this to the White House mail system.

    I want to tell you a story. I thought it might have notes of meaning, of resonance for you.

    A long while ago, we came across beings like ourselves but not like us. They looked different. They lived in ways we didn’t. Their societies were alien to us/ They had languages we didn’t understand. They shared thoughts and emotions but we did not know how to read them. But they were big & strong and we saw potential. So we took them away from their homes. We housed them, we fed them, we gave them what they needed to live, didn’t we? So why shouldn’t they be asked, be made to give us something back. So what if their homes were cramped and bare and devoid of joy? So what if their food was not what they’d have chosen? So what if we split up their families,stole their children? So what if we punished them, if they did not do what we asked…. what we demanded?

    Sound familiar? Thank goodness we put an end to that practice, right?

    But we didn’t !!! It is still going on right now !!! In the US !!!

    We have learnt absolutely nothing…….

    You see, I wasn’t talking about slavery….. Well, yes I was…. just not human slaves.

    Killer whales are intelligent, emotional beings. So what if they are not human? We do not have the right to rob them of their freedom, imprison them & enslave them.

    If you of all people cannot see that, Mr President, you should be ashamed.Your forebears will be turning in their graves.