The Instigator
d3laney
Pro (for)
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The Contender
autumndemutis
Con (against)
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orcas in captivity

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/20/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 575 times Debate No: 76744
Debate Rounds (5)
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d3laney

Pro

I love places like seaward and i would love to see the con go first
autumndemutis

Con

Killer Whales Don"t Belong in Captivity. The film "Blackfish," released earlier this year, has now become synonymous with the exposure and condemnation of the stress-inducing lives led by captive whales such as Tilikum " a 23-foot long bull orca who has lived in captivity since 1983, and drowned SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

Former SeaWorld Orlando employee Samantha Berg claims that, "Tilikum had a history of pulling people in " he reacts out of frustration and boredom after being cooped up since he was two years old."

So why exactly do orcas experience such profound frustration as a result of being captured? If " as Fred Jacobs, vice president of communications at SeaWorld claims " the whales" imprisonment is necessary in order to ensure their conservation, and they do not suffer in any way as a result of their captive status, why do they consistently demonstrate greater levels of aggression in captivity than they do in the wild?

A comparison of their natural behavioral patterns, as opposed to the lives they must endure in aquariums and amusement parks, reveals the answer.

1. They only live up to their "killer" nickname in captivity, not in the wild.
Orcas are often referred to as "killer whales," in a sensationalist nickname reminiscent of "Jaws". But this is, in fact, something of a misnomer. While orcas are a carnivorous species " feasting on a wide variety of prey such as salmon, squid, turtles, sea birds, manatees, dolphins, and even other whales " there are no documented cases of wild orcas killing human beings.

In the few isolated cases where the wild whales have attacked humans, none have ended in death. It seems that the "killer whale" tendency only emerges when they are kept in captivity, as there have been many recorded incidents involving aquarium whales lashing out at their trainers, several of which have been fatal.

2. They are not provided with adequate social interactions.
Orcas are highly social animals. In the wild, they live in tight matrilineal pods, typically composed of their grandmothers, mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Even when they reach sexual maturity, both male and female orcas typically choose to remain with their immediate family group for the rest of their lives.

When orcas have displayed this capacity to form such deep, lifelong bonds with their family members " just like we humans " how can SeaWorld claim that they are not harmed in any way once those bonds are brutally severed?

Putting a group of newly captured orcas " traumatized after having been torn away from their families " into a small enclosure, and asking them to "socialize" with one another could be seen as the equivalent of forcing a group of human strangers who speak different languages and come from different cultural backgrounds into a small room, and informing them that they must now spend the rest of their lives together, whether they like it or not.

3. They receive little to no stimulation.
Marine activist Colleen Gorman, of The Orca Project, observed SeaWorld"s treatment of Tilikum after he had killed Dawn Brancheau, and dubbed him the loneliest whale in the world as a result. During this time, she observed that he was kept apart from the other whales, fed intermittently, and received scant attention from zoological staff.

While he was later able to return to his regular performances, can this really be regarded as an improvement in his life? After all, the stress of performing was arguably the very thing that led him to lash out at Brancheau in the first place.

Gorman says, "I truly hope that SeaWorld will do the right thing and start looking into donating him to a foundation that is ready, willing and able to give him a better life such as one in a coastal sea pen " To think that he has the potential to live for a few more decades, it would be a tragic waste of a beautiful life if he continues to languish in such mundane conditions."

4. They can suffer from dorsal fin collapse.
Although SeaWorld has claimed that dorsal fin collapse "isn"t an indicator of the animal"s health or well-being," this phenomenon is rarely seen in wild orcas. It is believed that captive whales experience it because they spend much more time at the water"s surface, swimming in the same direction in a small pool. In addition, they receive less hydration from the frozen-thawed fish they are fed in marine parks, as opposed to the fresh fish they would eat if they were hunting in the wild. All of these factors can cause a captive orca"s dorsal fin tissue to atrophy and flop over onto one side.

5. They lack proper exercise.
Can the captive orca"s exercise regime of repeatedly circling its tank, performing tricks, and taking part in shows with names such as "Clyde and Seamore"s Christmas Special and Cirque de la Mer" ever compensate for the activity levels their wild counterparts can expect to enjoy?

In the wild, orcas can swim up to 100 miles per day " a phenomenal amount, in comparison to the exercise they receive in captivity. Fred Jacobs, however, is dismissive of this natural tendency, and claims that "swimming (100 miles) is not integral to a whale"s health and well-being. It is likely foraging behavior."

SeaWorld has recently claimed to be alleviating its whales" lack of exercise by installing a new whale treadmill on their Orlando premises. But if you were a whale, and were given the choice between captivity and freedom, would you choose to turn circles all day on an artificially constructed treadmill?

6. Their intelligence goes unacknowledged.
The brain of the orca is four times larger than the human brain, weighing in at 12 pounds. As their brains have been evolving for millions of years, while modern-day humans first emerged about 200,000 years ago, it is safe to assume that their cognitive development is at least as advanced as ours " if not considerably more so! The complex familial and social relationships that can be observed amongst a pod of wild orcas show us that these creatures are highly self-aware, adaptable, and intelligent.

Bearing this in mind, the idea of reducing them to objects of human amusement " whose sole purpose in life is to perform tricks whilst inhabiting tiny concrete tanks " is a travesty.

Since 1964, when a killer whale or orca (Orcinus orca) was first put on public display1
, the image
of this black-and-white marine icon has been rehabilitated from fearsome killer to cuddly sea
panda. Once shot at by fishermen as a dangerous pest, the orca is now the star performer in
theme park shows. But both these images are one-dimensional, a disservice to a species that
may be second only to human beings when it comes to behavioral, linguistic, and ecological
diversity and complexity. Orcas are intelligent and family-oriented. They are long-lived and selfaware.
They are socially complex, with cultural traditions. They are the largest animal, and by
far the largest predator, held in captivity.
Evidence supports the position that orcas are ill-served by public exhibition. The early benefit of
demonstrating to society that they are not mindless killers is uncontested2
, but is no longer
served by continued display. It is not a matter of opinion that orcas do not adjust to captivity; it
is a matter of fact. After more than 45 years of exhibiting orcas for human amusement, while at
the same time studying them in the wild, we have learned enough about them in both settings
to realize that orcas do not belong in captivity.
Debate Round No. 1
d3laney

Pro

Maybe you should have your facts correct Blackfish the film is 80 to 90% lies
The name killer whale come from the wild because the viciously kill animals like seals,fish,penguins,and been known to kill and eat sharks also marine birds like gulls and pelicans.and the reason the call them this is because they will kill there prey then will rip its skin and fur/feathers off then eat there meat inside.i don't give you that they have low exercise because the orca has toys and activities before and after shows.the orca will burn off a lot of calories per show the fin is mostly flipped because it is NOT supported by bone so the chances are equal of it collapsing in the wild just as much as Seaward its just there are more orcas in the wild than in Seaward so we see it more there because there are like 30 orcas in all the seaward parks vs  the unknown population ,but according to NOAA they are not endangered.so there is a LOT of Orca in the wild. Also orcas have not been taken out of the wild in 30+ years. they are not deprived of food and will get lots of food after shows and the fish they feed them during there shows is not just there food for the day its like a treat.
autumndemutis

Con

orcas cant be in a small place. its unhealthy for them and makes then scary animals to be around. Orcas in the wild have an average life expectancy of 30 to 50 years"their estimated maximum lifespan is 60 to 70 years for males and 80 to over 100 for females. The average age of death for orcas who have died at SeaWorld is 13 years old. In the wild, despite centuries of sharing the ocean, there has been only a single reliable report of an orca harming a human being. Because of the stress involved in being deprived of everything that is natural and important to orcas in captivity, orcas have attacked and killed three humans just since 1991 and many others have been injured. SeaWorld confines orcas, who could swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild, to tanks that, to them, are the size of a bathtub. They would need to swim 1,208 laps (around the perimeter of the tank) or 3,105 lengths (back and forth at the longest part of the tank) in the park"s largest tank to equal what they"d swim in the wild.
Debate Round No. 2
d3laney

Pro

Can i ask something and that is were do you get your information because it sounds like something PETA would say witch has been proven a lying organization its people like you who have know idea what your talking about in a zoological setting that get informed people like me PISSED OFF because you have know idea what you are talking about.lets have some Orcas in captivity age Lolita is 51 thats older than my Dad Tiilikum is 33 Kasatka is 39 so your once agen WRONG there.and its actually for a human in a 9.5 m length 5.7m width and 2.1m hight compared to Tilikum's pool by WDC and this is the pool when he attacked dawn and this was not his normal pool.and they get there exercise by doing activities with Humans and playing with toys. so SHUT your mouth if you (once again)don't have ALL THE FACTS!!!!
autumndemutis

Con

autumndemutis forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
d3laney

Pro

d3laney forfeited this round.
autumndemutis

Con

autumndemutis forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
d3laney

Pro

d3laney forfeited this round.
autumndemutis

Con

autumndemutis forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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