When SeaWorld announced their plan to double the size of the killer whale habitats at all 3 of the parks, instead of celebrating, animal activists instantly began attacking SeaWorld’s expansion plan.
The reason has now become clear. In a community theater on the remote San Juan Islands, north of Seattle, a group of activists, lobbyists, disgruntled former trainers and PhDs gathered for their annual Super Pod meeting. The highlight of this gathering of anti-zoo activists was the unveiling of their plans to build their own version of SeaWorld. The presentation was shockingly truthful in its planning for an activist run facility for whales and dolphins that looks just like an aquarium or a SeaWorld park.
photo source: Youtube
Since the debut of the movie Blackfish, anyone involved with the film has been on the record promoting sea pens as the only alternative to captivity. Despite an ocean of evidence suggesting that these animals would suffer and potentially die from this, the sea pen debate has been all the rage in activist circles.
It is only now that we see what the activists actually plan for sea pen – a facility run by them as a non-profit. Really their own private SeaWorld. Selling tickets to the public for viewing and promoting the attractions.
Before advocating for SeaWorld and zoological parks, killer whale trainer Bridgette Pirtle-Davis was part of the production and promotion of Blackfish. “After the premier of the film, it strangely went from absolutely no discussion of sea pens, to everyone advocating sea pens, and when I disagreed with the sea pen plan, because of my concern for the health and safety of the animals, I was removed from promotional tour of Blackfish,” said Pirtle-Davis.
photo source: Youtube
Ingrid Visser, an activist scientist from New Zealand, unveiled the master plan of their “Cetacean Sanctuary.” In the 30 minute video Dr. Ingrid revealed that their proposed Marine Park/ Zoo has the following features:
- Ticket booths and guest facilities
- Room to house more than 300 whales and dolphins
- Underwater viewing tunnel for guests
- Research facility
photo source: Youtube
The Definition of Hypocrisy
This plan has sparked cries of hypocrisy from professionals in the aquarium industry.
“There is clearly a real double-standard at play here”, said Scott Higley, Vice President for External Affairs & Government Relations at the Georgia Aquarium after he reviewed the activists marine park plan.
“In positioning themselves as the only advocates on behalf of these animals, the organizers behind this plan seem to be suggesting that it’s OK for them to operate a marine park which welcomes guests to educate the public about these animals, but it’s not OK for accredited, science-focused zoological facilities to do the exact same thing – facilities which comply with the law, are held to rigorous animal care standards, provide exceptional veterinary care, and give love and dedication to all animals, including rescues,” said Higley.
Activists have long decried the notion that seeing these animals in a zoo setting provides any educational value. They suggest that there is no value in keeping these animals other than profit. Yet, they are now proposing to do exactly what they have said have claimed should not be done by others.
What are the real motives.
While presenting the facility plan to the group at Superpod, Ingrid Visser contradicted herself when explaining that the facility would focus on “Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release.” However, she states that an unknown number of whales and dolphins will never be able to be released – leading folks to believe that they know these animals would never be released and would continue to serve as an attraction to the public.
Mark Simmons, a veteran killer whale trainer and author of the book “Killing Keiko“, which detailed the animal activists failed attempt to release the star of the movie Free Willy, blasted the plans for a non-profit activist marine park.
“It is disingenuous to suggest that a non-profit organization is by default also a righteous one. It was a non-profit that subjected Keiko to a drawn-out, suffering and unnecessary death. It is the same organizations that continue to defraud the public on the subject of Keiko to this day,” said Simmons.
Mr. Simmons said a facility like this one would put the animals at greater risk and threaten their well-being.
“There is one remarkable difference in Dr. Visser’s vision; her concept facility is a proposed halfway house for release to the wild. There is not one indisputable case of a whale or dolphin from long-term zoological care ever being successfully released to the wild. In fact, most attempts have ended in tragedy. The idea that whales long in the care of humans can survive an unforgiving wild is nothing short of premeditated animal abuse. Life is not so simple as Hollywood or Dr. Visser would have us believe,” said Simmons
Simmons also questioned the motives behind this plan.
“Dr. Visser and her supporters are capitalizing on the emotion elicited by a deceitful notion of animals suffering for the benefit of human entertainment. By name, they hijack individual animals only known to the public through the successes of our top zoos and aquariums. All this time and money and distraction while we sit on the precipice of the most rapid and large scale loss of wildlife in studied history. Dr. Visser’s crusade is a distraction from the real threats that face our marine wildlife. It is far past time to change the conversation. We are facing serious problems. We need serious people and serious organizations collaborating if we’re going to solve them,” said Simmons.
The cost of keeping marine mammals is steep. In order to provide world class care, facilities like the Dolphin Research Center in Florida spend $300,000 per year on their dolphins.
“The proper care of marine mammals like whales or dolphins is an immensely expensive undertaking, one killer whale costs nearly US $100,000 a year just to feed. This figure does not consider the cost of facility construction, preventative health care, labor, food storage or ongoing facility maintenance (extreme in an open-ocean environment). The tax status of the organization won’t change this fact,” said Simmons.
This plan has the potential of costing hundreds of millions of dollars annually just to feed and care for the animals. Do the activists really think they can maintain this? Particularly when the last time a sea pen was experimented with, funding dried up and Keiko was released only to suffer an unnecessary death.
How are they going to get the 300 whales and dolphins?
From what we have gathered, the plan is to take possession of the marine mammals from accredited institutions who have the funding and expertise to take care of the animals through litigation and legislation. Similar to activists’ campaigns to pressure zoos and private owners to send their elephants to sanctuaries, activists are hoping they can pressure accredited facilities to send their loved and cared for animals to this new activist marine park.
The activists know that the whales and dolphins they are trying to seize cannot be released, they just feel they are the only ones worthy of profiting off them. Common sense would suggest that these animals would suffer immensely if this plan ever came to fruition.
In fact, Ingrid Visser stated that she would rather see the rescued deaf killer whale Morgan dead, than remain at the facility where she is cared for and loved.
Now that the anti-captivity activists’ agenda has been reveled to be really a ‘captivity-somewhere-else’ plan, we wonder if their followers will continue supporting these radicals. People have been led to believe that these animals could survive in the ocean and their leaders would never be interested in running their own zoo.
But the truth is, that’s exactly what’s going on. PETA’s own zoo for profit and suffering on the backs of whales and dolphins.
We encourage everyone to speak up against these activists scientists, like Ingrid Visser, and others as they try to steal whales and dolphins from the homes and trainers who love and care for them.
These animals cannot be taken from facilities with the resources and knowledge of how to expertly care for them. For the result would be just like poor Keiko who was neglected and sent to an untimely death at the hands of people with similar motivation.
We now know that they oppose the SeaWorld killer whale expansion not because they care about the animals, but because they want their own private SeaWorld.