The Instigator
Zx32
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
NovaLux
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points

Should orca whales be kept in captivity?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
NovaLux
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,152 times Debate No: 42684
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

Zx32

Con

I have recently viewed the movie "Blackfish" and it inspired me to start this debate. I would love to know the reasoning behind why such an amazing animal should in fact be kept in captivity. Pleas join.
NovaLux

Pro

I accept this challenge with the contention that keeping animals in captivity ensures their survival. Best of luck to you.
Debate Round No. 1
Zx32

Con

Thank you for accepting this debate. I would like to start off by saying that I have seen orca whales both in the wild and in captivity. While I can appreciate the training that the animals go through, I do not support captivity. Seeing those creatures in the wild, while they don't do tricks, they are breathtaking. When Seaworld gets new whales, they aren't from the same pod, and orca whales are very emotional. This causes the whales to become very upset. Also, because they aren't all from the same pod, the bigger whales would try to assert their dominance on the smaller whales. This would not be seen in the wild. This causes injuries and even death for the animals. The notion that captivity keeps them safe is preposterous. Orca whales in the wild have a life span equal to that of a human. In captivity they live for about twenty years. Obviously captivity does not keep them safe in any way. They die early in captivity and are in fact harmed by other whales. I do think that people should be able to enjoy seeing these animals, but seeing them in the wild is how it should be. Keeping these animals in captivity is overall dangerous for the whales and for the trainers.
NovaLux

Pro

Certainly I have the lower hand going into an emotionally charged debate with little actual experience having to relate to orcas, but I am armed with a skepticism of "animal rights" and will do my best nonetheless. There seem to be two separate issues here; whether animal captivity is moral or not, and whether it significantly detrimental to their health, which of course ties into the morality. Being that its near impossible to say whales are significantly better off in captivity, I will argue that they are not doing as bad as many say they are, and against the alternatives. This round I will start with my supporting arguments:

1. Educational Benefits- For Whales and Humans
"After hormone measurements from pregnant aquarium whales revealed a much longer gestation period than had been previously estimated from field observations, the International Whaling Commission reduced Norway's whale quota by 52 animals per year. This data is impossible to collect in the wild."(1) From this statistic alone, whale captivity has saved the lives of more whales than it has harmed, as there are currently only 54 captive orcas worldwide (2). Research on these animals has been going on for years and has provided many insights, furthering human interest into the species and knowledge that can be used to better benefit orcas in and out of captivity. By the way, I'd like to point out that there are relatively few in captivity, 54 out of a minimum estimate of 50,000 killer whales in the wild, or 0.1% (3).

2. Whale Watching- Not So Natural After All
On proposed alternative to seeing killer whales in a tank is to see them in their natural habitat, a.k.a. whale watching. Although it may seem like a more "natural" option, it can certainly have destructive effects on the whales and their environment. What if the millions of people who watched a relatively minor amount of whales at parks all went out on whale watching trips? In addition to the greater inconvenience and pollution (farther travel distances), there is a good chance this would significantly disturb the behavior or movement of whales in the wild (4). Unfortunately, not much is known about the effects of whale watching on their behavior, but surely it is the lesser of two evils to disturb a comparative few in captivity rather than a much greater population of wild animals.

3. Viva La Revolution!
A common argument against captivity is that these animals have the "desire to be free". Surely a human would not choose a life of captivity for him/herself? But that is because humans know better, we have a sense of consciousness unlike most animals. We examine ourselves from the fist person perspective. And the fact is, some animals do benefit from captivity. Not many (although there are people out there) would call for the immediate freeing of all domestic animals like cats and dogs, yet those same people clamor for "exotic" animals to be released to the wild, where they can frolic at leisure. How nice.
Nature isn't a very hospitable place for most- I'm sure you wouldn't want to be stranded on an island for months. It is exemplified by predator-prey relationships, a life of constant struggle and fear. But when people own cats, for example, it is a mutually beneficial relationship- humans get comfort and lolcatz, cats get a free meal and all the time to lounge around they could want. What makes a pet ownership situation moral, as apposed to amoral, is the well being of the animal in question, not their denial of "the right to freedom." Animals are not capable of complex abstract reasoning about nature and liberty, and could care less about it. So instead of slandering pet ownership for the sake of slandering, we should direct our criticism and situations where undue harm is being provided to animals. And where it is, as could be argued in this case, we should work to improve their conditions if they can be improved.

4. Endangered No More
The notion that you can simply outlaw something and make the activity go away has been proven time and time again to be false, the continuing demand for ivory being a prime example. Do I think there will be a black market for whale entertainment? No, but I do think that people will continue to hunt whales in the wild, whether it is outlawed or not, as long as demand continues. Its because the ocean is public property, so it suffers from what is known as the "tragedy of the commons".
Picture a bowl of candy with a free candy sign on it. It is not in your interest to not steal a lot of candy, since other people will just take it all and you will be left with none. Similarly, nobody would reduce fishing of wild orcas unless they could own the orcas and profit from it, because others would simply swoop in and hunt the whales. Parks like Seaworld have a vested interest in ensuring the survival of their animals- if they don't, they are out of business. While new pieces of equipment like the "whale treadmill" may seem gimmicky, they are helping to improve the health of the animals, all in the pursuit of profit. If people aren't satisfied with the health of their animals, they won't attend shows, less shows= less $. So Seaworld is forced, in pursuit of profit, to improve the health of their animals.
I agree that conditions aren't the best for performing orcas, but the profit motive system will eventually improve their conditions. Instead of "freeing the whales" which would inevitably cause them more harm, you should cheer on new developments that make their life better. Public pressure, not coercion by government, is the answer. Just a side note- while boycotting is a popular tactic among those opposed to captivity, it leads to many people loosing their means of income, people who genuinely care about the animals they work with and are trying to improve their conditions.

Sources:
(1) http://www.vanaqua.org...
(2) http://us.whales.org...
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(4) http://www.whalesalive.org.au...

P.S. Sorry I was late in posting my response, I've been doing some research on the topic.
Debate Round No. 2
Zx32

Con

Zx32 forfeited this round.
NovaLux

Pro

Until Con posts a response all I can do is redirect you to my previous points. The practice may seem wrong but will only improve with time, and time is what we must allow.
Debate Round No. 3
Zx32

Con

Zx32 forfeited this round.
NovaLux

Pro

Vote pro?
Debate Round No. 4
Zx32

Con

Zx32 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by NovaLux 3 years ago
NovaLux
Still a little confused about the issue- are we only debating the morality or what should be done (if anything) in response (government intervention, boycott, ect)?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Mr.sarcastic 2 years ago
Mr.sarcastic
Zx32NovaLuxTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: I agree with con 100%! I don't care bout conduct or grammar it's just cruel!
Vote Placed by sewook123 2 years ago
sewook123
Zx32NovaLuxTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Wylted 3 years ago
Wylted
Zx32NovaLuxTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Clear win for pro. No rebuttals offered. Conduct to pro for ff also.