The Stress Of Captivity For Orcas - A Report By The Trainers!

Ex-trainers from SeaWorld Orlando have written a report detailing a exactly why captivity for orcas is bad for their health.

The report suggests possible causes of stress and ill health in captive orcas, such as boredom, social conflict, inadequate diets, too small and shallow enclosures and breeding animals that are too young. The authors state that “few captive orcas live to old age”.

The shocking reality of captivity for orcas is revealed in this report, in which the ex-trainers describe how these animals are suffering and how they have shorter, more impoverished lives than those of their wild counterparts.

(c) Bernard Auton/WDCSOne such example of this unnecessary suffering is that “under-stimulated and bored animals “chew” on metal bars and mouth concrete pool corners”. This breaks their teeth and exposes the pulp, which decays and can cause infections. The ex-trainers report that SeaWorld’s solution is to drill holes through the pulp into their jaw which are then flushed out on a daily basis to prevent infection. The authors explain how problems with teeth can lead to further health problems and wonder whether this might be a factor in the deaths of captive orcas.

The report also reveals that attacks between captive orcas are disturbingly frequent: “social strife is common in captivity, including aggression, in which whales are cut, raked, and rammed”. In the wild, orcas strongly associate with family groups for their whole life and conflicts are very rare, but in captivity they are kept in small spaces with strangers. They cannot escape if another orca attacks them. The authors describe a particularly horrible example where an orca bled to death after an aggressive encounter with another orca. She took 45 minutes to die.

The authors conclude that: “The time has come to evolve beyond keeping orcas confined in small, unnatural, spaces for purely entertainment purposes.”

To read the report click here.