Who hasn’t visited a dolphin or killer whale show? If we were fortunate to make a trip to SeaWorld or the many other places that entertain with these beautiful mammals, we can recall with some clarity the fascination and excitement of watching them perform …. large and (seemingly) in charge. Never once considering the amount of danger their human trainers face on a daily basis. Nor the emotional signals that these beautiful creatures feel that occasionally turn violent (at a split second) based on (their) animal instinct.
This week, the Freedom of Information Act allowed for the release of eyewitness interviews conducted by the Orange County Sheriff’s office, of the 2010 death of trainer Dawn Brancheau. While it was difficult to listen to, my dismay was not for the killer whale or the trainer(s). I was disgruntled over the fact that most cases of this nature, carry a death sentence for the animal after killing a human. Was it the really the fault of the whale in a tank or the cougar on a hiking trail attempting to protect its cubs nearby as a jogger passes? Tilikum (the killer whale) was not put down but was isolated for 13 months. Was it better than letting him go? They are such intelligent animals. How else do we expect them to communicate their desire to be released? They didn’t ask to be captured and ‘trained.’
This is why these beautiful creatures need to be left in the wild. Just thinking about the lives lost, makes me feel as though humans have not evolved beyond the need to exploit (as in the bearded lady at the circus). It’s time we let go and let live.
I’m already signed up and signed a few petitions. How about you?!
With sincere respect, my condolences to those trainers that have died on the job, and to their families.