On Wednesday, February 24th 2010, forty year old Dawn Brancheau lost her life while working with one of the Orcas at Sea World. There are differing versions of how she died, but her death was nothing less than tragic. From what has evolved about this story, we have heard Dawn became interested in her career at a young age. She knew, as a little girl, she would someday be involved with a facility such as Sea World. If there is any consolation, it would be that she died doing what she truly loved.
Many people have been quick to jump to conclusions, condemn Sea World and other similar facilities and demand they be shut down. Has it occurred to anyone that these facilities bring more attention to the plight of these magnificent creatures than any animal rights protests? Not only do these facilities display the natural jumping and swimming abilities of these creatures, but they also provide an enormous amount of education about marine life and the animals that live there.
When children have the opportunity to interact with whales, dolphins, sea lions and other aquatic mammals, they become more aware of these animals’ right to exist. Children and adults can’t wait to pet these creatures, as if they were puppies or kittens. Like it or not, this interaction brings increased awareness, understanding and develops the next generation of animal rights activists.
How is keeping a whale in captivity so different from keeping your dog or cat in captivity? Nature says animals should keep their genitals intact, but we humans arbitrarily neuter them at will. We tie them up with cables, keep them in cages, pamper them with obnoxious clothing and trinkets, leave them out in the cold, build them dog houses and let them fend for themselves. In sheer numbers, we are much more abusive to our smaller captive creatures than the likes of Sea World. In the true sense of freeing Willy, we should also consider freeing Fido, Miss Kitty and all the other creatures we are fond of capturing and containing.