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Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert
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CruzanIron
December 29, 2013 11:52AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 2,383

Maybe we should petition the VI government to outlaw horse racing as a start?

The VI could set an example for the rest of the world.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
December 29, 2013 02:05PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

How about cock fighting? That would be another step in the right direction as well as beefing up the present anti-cruelty laws, reporting dog fighting rings and stopping Coral World from importing dolphins to our islands. I try to do my part. How about you?

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert
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CruzanIron
December 29, 2013 04:15PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 2,383

Cock fighting was excluded from the VI anti-animal cruelty bill.
They said that they would address it separately.
That alone will let you know the thought process of the electorate.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
December 30, 2013 10:24AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Here is another horrendous outrage, if you can stand it!

A Look Inside the Angora Rabbit Fur Industry

After watching this video, you'll never buy angora again.

The undercover footage, shot by PETA Asia, found horrific routine cruelty to angora rabbits, whose long, soft fur is often used in sweaters and accessories. The investigator filmed workers who were violently ripping the fur from the animals' sensitive skin as they screamed at the top of their lungs in pain. After this terrifying and barbaric ordeal, which the rabbits endure every three months, many of them appeared to go into shock, lying motionless inside their tiny, filthy cages, with no solid flooring or bedding, and without the vital companionship of other rabbits. After two to five years, those who have survived are hung upside down, their throats are slit, and their bodies are sold.

Rabbits who have their fur cut or sheared also suffer: During the cutting process, their front and back legs are tightly tethered—a terrifying experience for any prey animal—and the sharp cutting tools inevitably wound them as they struggle desperately to escape.

Watch the video:

[secure.peta.org]

Ninety percent of angora fur comes from China, where there are no penalties for abuse of animals on farms and no standards to regulate the treatment of the animals. When you buy a sweater, hat, or other product that contains angora, the angora fur most likely originated in China, even if the finished product was assembled elsewhere.

Rabbits are gentle, socially complex, and intelligent animals with individual personalities, just like dogs and cats. In their natural habitat, rabbits live in scrupulously clean burrows and spend their time foraging for fresh, leafy food and interacting with members of their warren.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
January 04, 2014 02:34PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Here's the latest on Sea World & Ocra's in their confinement.

5 Videos SeaWorld Doesn't Want You to See

As if confining orcas for their entire lives to .0001 percent of their natural range in a single day and kidnapping them from the wild aren't disturbing enough, the following are some further reasons why SeaWorld is truly one twisted "family" establishment:

[www.seaworldofhurt.com]

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
January 05, 2014 06:12PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Heartbreaking Images of Dolphins in Drained Aquariums the Result of ‘Routine’ Practice, Says Ric O’Barry:

[www.takepart.com]


The cruel and unusual cleaning method occurs at all ‘51 dolphin abusement parks in Japan,’ says ‘The Cove’ star.


The 10 Rights for Dolphins as ‘Non-Human Persons’

Dolphins are so intelligent, say scientists, they deserve their own cetacean Bill of Rights.
[www.takepart.com]



A coalition of scientists, animal-rights activists, and philosophers are in agreement: dolphins, second only to humans in terms of mammalian intelligence, should be considered “non-human persons” and granted due protection under law, reports The Telegraph.

At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver last week, the group, led by Dr. Thomas White, was canvassing for support of their “Declaration of Cetacean Rights.”

“The similarities between cetaceans and humans are such that they, as we, have an individual sense of self,” said White, an ethics expert at Loyola Marymount University, to The Telegraph. “Dolphins are non human persons. A person needs to be an individual. If individuals count, then the deliberate killing of individuals of this sort is ethically the equivalent of deliberately killing a human being. The science has shown that individuality, consciousness, self-awareness is no longer a unique human property. That poses all kinds of challenges.”

Dolphin research has show that the creatures are more intelligent than chimpanzees, they recognize their reflections in a mirror, and can even think about the future.

The scientists originally proposed the ten Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans two years ago at a conference in Helsinki. You can sign the petition at CetationRights.org.

[www.cetaceanrights.org]


Based on the principle of the equal treatment of all persons;
Recognizing that scientific research gives us deeper insights into the complexities of cetacean minds, societies and cultures;
Noting that the progressive development of international law manifests an entitlement to life by cetaceans;
We affirm that all cetaceans as persons have the right to life, liberty and wellbeing.
We conclude that:
1.Every individual cetacean has the right to life.
2.No cetacean should be held in captivity or servitude; be subject to cruel treatment; or be removed from their natural environment.
3.All cetaceans have the right to freedom of movement and residence within their natural environment.
4.No cetacean is the property of any State, corporation, human group or individual.
5.Cetaceans have the right to the protection of their natural environment.
6.Cetaceans have the right not to be subject to the disruption of their cultures.
7.The rights, freedoms and norms set forth in this Declaration should be protected under international and domestic law.
8.Cetaceans are entitled to an international order in which these rights, freedoms and norms can be fully realized.
9.No State, corporation, human group or individual should engage in any activity that undermines these rights, freedoms and norms.
10.Nothing in this Declaration shall prevent a State from enacting stricter provisions for the protection of cetacean rights.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
January 10, 2014 10:06AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Why Is SeaWorld Allowing Its Killer Whales to Live in Crumbling Pools?

Rusted beams, chipping concrete, and more decaying infrastructure at SeaWorld Orlando.

Packs of decade-old medical sutures. Rust and cement chips in the dolphin nursery. Flooring and concrete mesh chipping away at Shamu Stadium. Eroded paint exposing rough concrete edges in the orca “slide-out.”

Want to learn more? Read the entire article on the below link:

[www.takepart.com]

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
January 15, 2014 10:52AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

[www.takepart.com]

Death Returns to Taiji: 24 Bottlenose Dolphins Butchered at the Cove

The deaths represent the largest one-day kill since late November, when 54 striped dolphins were slaughtered.
Another day, another senseless dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.

The waters of the village’s notorious inlet, spotlighted in 2009 by the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, ran red with blood yesterday as local fishermen killed 24 bottlenose dolphins.

“Many of these dolphins suffered terribly for a great length of time before actually dying,” says Melissa Sehgal, senior leader for Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian campaign, from the ground in Taiji. She leads a team of 12 volunteers that monitor the six-month drive hunt, which involves everything from counting the dead to helming cameras that live-stream the killings.

The 24 dolphin deaths represent the largest one-day kill since Nov. 23, 2013, when 54 striped dolphins were slaughtered, she says. A total of 459 dolphins have been killed this season.


Each year beginning Sept. 1 and ending sometime in March, around 30 fishermen from the small town, population 2,000, lure luckless pods of whales and dolphins from the open ocean into a narrow bay bordered by steep, rocky cliffs. There, they separate the younger ones worth selling to aquariums in Japan and around the world.

The rest are impaled with harpoons and butchered. Their toxic, mercury-rich meat is then sent to dining tables across East Asia.

Prior to the release of the film, the town’s fishermen were annually killing around 1,600 dolphins, a fraction of the country’s annual quota of 20,000 dolphins and small whales, such as pilot whales.


But the worldwide media exposure that surged in the wake of the Academy Award and increased pressure from activist organizations such as Sea Shepherd and Cove star Ric O’Barry’s Save Japan Dolphins combined to lower the kill count each subsequent season. During the 2012–2013 season, roughly 900 dolphins were killed.

“When our team arrived in Japan, the government was force-feeding dolphin meat with toxic loads of mercury to thousands of schoolchildren and had a plan to expand this scheme to unsuspecting communities all over the country,” the film’s director, Louie Psihoyos, said last fall. “That’s not happening anymore.”

But, as TakePart reported in September, that silver lining has had a dark cloud.


As demand for dead dolphins dropped, demand for live ones skyrocketed, with each fetching $150,000 or more. This, critics say, is the economic underpinning of the entire enterprise. Remove it, and the business collapses.

Around 250 dolphins were caught for captivity during the 2012–2013 season—a sharp increase from the 50 captured in 2011–2012. This season, 88 have been destined for a life in show business.

Even in the largest aquarium facilities, captive dolphins have access to a fraction of 1 percent of the swimming area available to them in their natural environment—the open ocean. Some wild dolphins can swim up to 100 miles a day hunting for food.

“Japan claims the slaughter is a cultural tradition,” says Sehgal. “But in fact it’s really a cover-up to reap the financial rewards from the live-captive dolphin trade, which funds the slaughter.”

She estimates that the 13 dolphins captured yesterday represent “more than a-million-dollar haul for the Japanese government.”

Asked what people can to do stop the killings, Sehgal was quick and to the point: “Don’t ever visit a marine park again—over time, that will definitely bring an end to this slaughter.”

Please check the above link and sign the petition!

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert
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swans
January 15, 2014 05:24PM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 1,313

The HORROR of man!

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
January 18, 2014 08:47AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Thank you Swans!

Here's an update: New York Hotspot Cancels SeaWorld 50th Anniversary Party

Read more: [www.peta.org]

Sure, penguins are naturally dressed for a party, but to them, a “party” is doing tummy slides across the ice and swimming really fast in really cold water—not being loaded up in a truck and deposited at a noisy restaurant to serve as living party decorations. The latter is what SeaWorld had in mind—until PETA got wind of it, that is.

After being bombarded with e-mails and phone calls from PETA supporters, New York restaurant Bagatelle canceled a 50th anniversary party planned by SeaWorld that was supposed to have taken place at the restaurant this evening. After learning from PETA about SeaWorld’s routine exploitation of animals—which was movingly documented by the blockbuster documentary Blackfish—Bagatelle’s owners did “what was right in our hearts” and figuratively told SeaWorld to go jump in an Antarctic lake.

As PETA pointed out in our e-mails to Bagatelle, SeaWorld’s planned event would have caused penguins tremendous stress both during transport to the venue and while surrounded by loud music and noisy party guests. The event would have also promoted SeaWorld’s abuse of orcas, whom it locks up in glorified bathtubs, where they understandably are frustrated by the constant deprivation and confinement.

PETA is hanging up our protest placards and popping the champagne corks today in recognition of Bagatelle’s savvy business decision to put kindness ahead of profits.

What You Can Do

Bagatelle has done the right thing and cut ties with SeaWorld. Now tell Southwest Airlines to make the same compassionate decision and end its partnership with the “abusement” park.

Read more: [www.peta.org]

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
January 18, 2014 08:53AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Here's an update on those Angora Rabits:

Tell Gap: Stop Squeezing Profits From Screaming Rabbits!

UPDATE: Gap has announced that it is suspending placement of orders using angora and investigating further. PETA welcomes this step, with the caveat that it should lead to a ban so that rabbits and consumers can breathe easy again. Please help make sure that Gap goes all the way by writing—and also encouraging everyone you know to write—to urge the company to BAN angora NOW!

PETA Asia's stunning new undercover investigation of angora fur farms—which reveals horrific cruelty to rabbits—has people in shock and companies declaring "no more angora," but Gap Inc. isn't budging and is keeping angora clothing on its racks.

PETA Asia's investigative footage shows workers in China—where about 90 percent of the world's angora fur comes from—tying rabbits down and ripping their fur out while they scream in fear and pain. Thrown back into their tiny, filthy cages, many of them were clearly in deep shock and couldn't move, eat, or drink. The rabbits endure this terrifying ordeal every three months for up to five years, then they are hung upside down and their throats are slit.

These gentle angora rabbits need your help immediately! Please contact Gap Inc. CEO Glenn K. Murphy and ask the company—which also owns Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta—to stop selling angora products NOW.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
January 23, 2014 09:16AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Kennedy Tweet Sparks Global Outrage Over 'Cove' Slaughter

On Tuesday, fishermen in Taiji, Japan, killed 40 dolphins and captured 52 for sale to aquariums.

PDATE: Jan. 22, 2014—1:44 p.m.

A State Department spokesperson today issued a statement in support of Ambassador Kennedy's tweet. "The U.S. does remain committed to the global moratorium on commercial whaling, and we are concerned with both the sustainability and the humaneness of the Japanese dolphin hunts," said Marie Harf. "We have been very clear that this is our position, and we remain concerned about it. And the ambassador was expressing our view that we’ve made public for a long time."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If dolphins could tweet, many would surely be writing some version of “Thanks @CarolineKennedy for trying to save our lives” over the weekend. On Jan. 17, Kennedy, just two months into her job as the U.S. ambassador to Japan, sent shockwaves around the world by tweeting against the slaughter of dolphins in the cove at Taiji, Japan. “Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing,” Kennedy tweeted. “USG (U.S. Government) opposes drive hunt fisheries.”

The tweet, and the buzz it generated among diplomats, celebrities, activists, and media outlets, has thrust Taiji, a fishing town of 2,000 people, back into the international spotlight for the first time in nearly four years. In March 2010, The Cove won an Academy Award in the documentary feature category for first exposing the village’s dolphin secret.

It is not known what prompted Kennedy's message, but roughly eight hours before her tweet, fishermen drove 250 dolphins from the open ocean into the village’s narrow bay, which is bordered by high, rocky cliffs. They remained there, trapped in nets, for four nights, before fishermen slaughtered 40 of them this morning. An additional 52 were selected for sale to aquariums, while the others were released. The cull represents the largest one-day kill at the cove since Nov. 23, 2013, when 54 striped dolphins were slaughtered.
related

Death Returns to Taiji: 24 Bottlenose Dolphins Butchered at the Cove

Though welcomed by millions, the ambassador’s missive sparked anger in some corners of Japan, a close U.S. ally. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the hunts are legal and appropriate and that eating the meat is a local custom. "Dolphin fishing is a form of traditional fishing in our country," Suga said. "We will explain Japan's position to the American side."

The pushback stretched from Tokyo to Taiji, where an unnamed fisheries official told Agence France Presse that Kennedy should visit the cove and learn about the new humane way of killing dolphins. "We have switched to a more humane way of butchering them," he said. "We cut the spinal cord so that they don't bleed. We don't butcher them like before.”

Activists refute that, saying the slaughter is still terrifying and painful for the dolphins. "The slaughter process is called pithing, where they hammer a metal rod into the spinal cord of the dolphin,” Melissa Sehgal, senior campaign leader of Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian campaign, told 3 News. “These dolphins do not die immediately. It takes up to 20 to 30 minutes for these dolphins to die, where they bleed out, suffocate, or drown from the process of being dragged to the butcher house," she added.

Since 2000, the annual hunt, which runs from September through mid-April, has caused the deaths of roughly 18,000 dolphins. Most are butchered on-site for food (despite extreme mercury concentrations in dolphin meat), while the youngest, cutest ones are spared and sold for up to $125,000 each to marine-mammal facilities in Russia, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, and East Asia.

Since the Sept. 1 start of the 2013–2014 killing season, 1,187 dolphins from six species have been forced into the notorious inlet, according to the website the Ceta-Base. Of those, 618 were killed, 146 captured, and 422 set free.

While Kennedy's message made the biggest splash, it was hardly issued in a vacuum.

Over the weekend, the U.K. ambassador to Japan, Tim Hitchens, also tweeted, “Taiji Bay Dolphins: the UK opposes all forms of dolphin and porpoise drives; they cause terrible suffering. We regularly raise with Japan.”

Noted personalities also jumped into the fray. In a letter addressed to the Taiji fishermen, Yoko Ono wrote that world anger was jeopardizing her birth country's standing. “Please use political tact and cancel the festival which will be considered by the rest of the world as a sign of Japanese arrogance, ignorance, and love for an act of violence,” she wrote.

The Virgin Group’s Richard Branson, who has not publicly condemned marine-mammal captivity, wrote on the company's website: “Those Japanese people who support the killings in Taiji should realise the damage the slaughter in the cove does to the reputation of their otherwise delightful country.”

Those directly involved in attempting to end the slaughter are also speaking up. Ric O’Barry, star of The Cove and considered by many to be the grandfather of the dolphin abolition movement, appeared briefly on CNN’s "AC360" on Monday and is scheduled to return tonight.

“I want to give her [Ambassador Kennedy] the petition with two and half million signatures calling for the end of the dolphin slaughter,” he wrote in an email, adding that he’s requested a meeting with Kennedy to discuss the matter.

While delighted by Kennedy’s tweet, Louie Psihoyos, director of The Cove, took the long view about ending the slaughter. “This is a movement, like any movement to evolve the human psyche, there are going to be ups and downs, but we are going to win,” he wrote in an email.

The State Department today declined the latest of TakePart's four requests to interview Kennedy on the slaughter since she took office on Nov. 12, and some observers worry Washington officials will force her to retract her powerful tweet.

“We do not have any concrete information but suspect the Obama Administration may very well cave to Japanese pressure and rebuke Ambassador Kennedy,” said Mark Palmer of the Earth Island Institute, O’Barry’s activist organization. “We are working to get members of Congress to stand up and support her stance.”

But Kennedy's words cannot be taken back. Her tweet still has tremendous influence. “It reverberated around the world,” Psihoyos wrote. “It shows that compassionate souls can make a difference when they dare to speak up against injustice.”


[www.takepart.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/2014 09:48AM by Alana33.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
January 23, 2014 09:23AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

This Rare White Baby Dolphin Was Just Captured at the Cove—Can She Survive?

Nicknamed Angel by activists, the calf was one of 250 bottlenose dolphins forced into the deadly cove over the weekend.

are objects have tremendous monetary and emotional value—and, sadly, this applies to living creatures, including dolphins. Amid the global uproar over the latest round of dolphin killings in Taiji, Japan, one young calf, an extremely rare albino bottlenose dolphin nicknamed Angel by activists, has captured the hearts of people around the world. But with her mother probably now dead, her future is bleak.

The pinkish-white female calf (her exact age is unknown) was one of 250 bottlenose dolphins forced into the deadly cove over the weekend. Fishermen slaughtered 40 of them yesterday, while 52 were selected for sale to aquariums, including Angel. The others were released.

Albino cetaceans are exceedingly unusual. Only two others have reportedly been identified: a female bottlenose dolphin named Carolina Snowball, caught off the coast of South Carolina in 1962, and a killer whale named Handsome, who was photographed off the Alaskan coast in 2010.

It's precisely this rarity that makes Angel so special, not only to anti-captivity activists but also to Taiji fishermen and the aquariums that will likely bid top dollar to put her on display for gawking tourists. “People pay good money to see oddities,” says Ric O'Barry, star of the Oscar-winning documentary feature The Cove, which first put a global spotlight on Taiji’s dolphin slaughter in 2009.

A Taiji-caught dolphin can fetch more than $150,000, but we won't know Angel's actual monetary value until the bidding process begins. She is being held in a small tank at the Taiji Whale Museum, O'Barry says, and it is conceivable the museum could keep her as part of its collection.

Then again, she may not live long enough to bring in crowds.

“I doubt she will survive very long,” says Courtney Vail of Whale and Dolphin Conservation. “Unfortunately her life may just be a brief punctuation mark in the ongoing conflict in Taiji.” O'Barry agrees. “I'm afraid she will end up as fertilizer or pet food,” he says, referring to a common practice of sending captive dead whales and dolphins to rendering plants. “It's a gut feeling based on 54 years of being around captures and seeing how many do not survive their experience, especially one that young who was taken away from its mother.”

Extreme stress from the drives—both the capture and the witnessing of family members having their spinal cords severed—can have a deadly effect on dolphins. “It's too stressful; their immune system starts going down, and then they stop eating,” O'Barry says.


Then there's the question of how Angel's mother died. Was she killed by Taiji fishermen? Did she die of stress? Or did she kill herself? Like all cetaceans, bottlenoses are voluntary breathers, meaning they are capable of holding their breath until they expire.

“There's no way to prove or disprove it,” says O'Barry, who watched a video shot on Jan. 17 of Angel's mother in the thralls of being “absolutely panic-stricken,” seemingly racked with grief after being separated from her calf. “I've seen dolphins in the cove many times committing suicide, and I think I saw it again with this dolphin's mother,” he says. “I could be wrong; it’s just an educated guess.”


Cetacean scientist Dr. Naomi Rose, of the Animal Welfare Institute, doubts Angel’s mother committed suicide. “She could have surfaced right away, 10 feet from where she’d been, and no one would have been able to tell,” she says. Regardless, she adds, “removing a dependent calf from the mother is wrong on so many levels. It’s unethical, it’s poor biology because the calf’s survival is very much in doubt, and it’s poor conservation.”

O'Barry, who used to capture and train dolphins, including several who interchangeably played Flipper on the 1960s television show of the same name, says Angel reminds him of the only other albino dolphin he's interacted with, Carolina Snowball, whom he helped capture in 1962. She was subsequently shipped to the Miami Seaquarium, where she was renamed Popcorn and died less than three years later. “She was the last dolphin I ever captured,” he adds. “Now with Angel, it's Groundhog Day for me to relive all that in my mind.”

For now, Angel is the poster child for the resurgence of international outrage at the killings at the cove. Whatever becomes of her, she is having an impact.

“It seems like the whole world responded to her sad story with empathy and compassion,” wrote Louie Psihoyos, director of The Cove, in an email. “Unfortunately it took the capture of this Angel to shine a light on the dark side of the captivity trade.”

[www.takepart.com]

madHow can we continue to allow this to happen to these magnificent sentient creatures????????????????????????????sad



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/2014 10:07AM by Alana33.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
January 23, 2014 09:43AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Here's an Update:

EXCLUSIVE: SeaWorld Appeals Ruling in Trainer's Death as Eyewitness Interviews Are Released

Graphic details surface in recently obtained first hand accounts of Dawn Brancheau's tragic 2010 death.
his week, attorneys for SeaWorld Florida and the Obama administration are completing briefs for a showdown in U.S. federal court, where SeaWorld will try to overturn a lower-court ruling against the park in the February 24, 2010 death of trainer Dawn Brancheau. Now, through the Freedom of Information Act, TakePart has obtained eyewitness interviews conducted by the Orange County Sheriff’s office on or around that fateful day.

The federal judges hearing SeaWorld’s appeal should also listen to these tapes: They portray a horrific afternoon of violence and terror as the 12,000-pound killer whale Tilikum grabbed his trainer, pulled her underwater, scalped, rammed and dismembered her, and then refused to relinquish her body.

The Brancheau audio tapes, shocking and gruesome as they may be, are critical pieces of evidence that provide the public—and the judges—with fresh insight into what really happened on the day when Tilikum went on the attack after performing in “Dine with Shamu,” a behind-the-scenes poolside dining experience, in one of the back pools at Orlando.

These eyewitness accounts make it abundantly clear why such close proximity to the ocean’s apex predator can create an unsafe workplace, to put it mildly.

In August 2010, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) slapped SeaWorld with a “willful” violation (the most severe), a $75,000 fine, and an order to “abate” workplace hazards by keeping trainers away from all orcas, not just Tilikum.

In the fall of 2011, SeaWorld sued OSHA to overturn the citation and vacate the abatements. But the following May, Administrative Law Judge Ken Welsch upheld the abatements and ordered SeaWorld to comply with the OSHA safety requirements (though he did reduce the violation from willful to serious).


Last summer, SeaWorld filed an appeal at a special Labor Department commission, which refused to hear the case. Now the entertainment company has filed a “petition for review” at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which will decide if OSHA acted properly or not.

You be the judge. Below is a brief summary of three eyewitness interviews, along with audio links to each. More interviews will be published at a later date.

“He just became an animal.”

— Lynne Schaber, spotter trainer at the “Dine With Shamu” show on February 24, 2010

Interviewed by Orange County Sheriff’s Office on February 24, 2010 at 3:53 PM, shortly after Brancheau died.
related


DEATH AT SEAWORLD | EYEWITNESS INTERVIEW with Lynne Schaber

Schaber was the “spotter trainer” (safety observer) during the show and was downstairs with about 30 guests and staffers in the underwater viewing area when Tilikum grabbed Dawn and proceeded to ram and kill her. She remains remarkably calm during the interview, which is, perhaps, attributable to emotional shock.

Even though Dawn was lying down in eight to ten inches of water on a shallow ledge, right next to the massive orca, SeaWorld did not consider this to be “water work”—something that was banned with Tilikum because he had already been involved in two human deaths. The government argued powerfully in court that SeaWorld had committed gross negligence for allowing any employee to be in such a vulnerable position and, here, Schaber repeats the party line. “It is contact, but not in the water,” she says of Brancheau. “She was with contact with the whale at the surface, dry.”

And though she’d been at SeaWorld for eight years, including work with Tilikum, Schaber was woefully unaware of the details surrounding his killer reputation and two previous killings. “I am not the person who has the details of his history,” she says, shockingly. “I know that one was, I think, a guest that stayed in the park after hours and got in the pool but I’m not sure, I know that SeaWorld has information about that one. And the other one was a former trainer. So my management staff would have information on that.” The other victim was actually a trainer at a park in Victoria, BC, before Tilikum was sold to SeaWorld, underscoring Schaber’s ignorance of his history.

Schaber’s descriptions of her friend and colleague’s awful demise are chilling. “I don’t know if he ever brought her to the surface, but when she was at the surface she was already unconscious,” she recalls here. “He just became an animal, you know, not tamed…that’s just naturally how they are…He’s a possessive animal, his history is that he keeps things in the water with him .”

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“This is not part of the show. Get the kids out of here!”

– Jessica Wilder, guest at “Dine With Shamu”

Interviewed by Orange County Sheriff’s Office on February 26, 2010, 9:51 AM
related

DEATH AT SEAWORLD | EYEWITNESS INTERVIEW with Jessica Wilder

When the “Dine with Shamu” event concluded, Wilder went down to the underwater viewing area to watch Tilikum from beneath the surface. She was one of the few people to witness the attack from that angle. Here, she describes in gripping detail how he repeatedly rammed Dawn, circling around to gain speed before impact. “She’s spread-eagle, not in the typical trainers’ fashion,” Wilder says. “She was scrambling to get out. I saw her kicking, and I saw her trying to get out, and it seemed like a split second later the whale was approaching her.”

Wilder turned to the mother next to her. “’This is not part of the show, get the kids out of here,’” she warned. And then, suddenly, “here comes the whale…He lifted his snout up and impacted her squarely in the chest…then the whale left her and went to do another loop.”

Wilder says she knew that Dawn was still alive at that point, “because I saw her attempt to ball herself up,” in vain hopes of self-protection. “And the whale came around again, and he was headed squarely for her waist,” she says. “We started to walk off and I turned and at that point I just saw the woman’s legs.”

Wilder’s account concurs with those of other witnesses who report that staff did not sound the alarm right away, a direct contradiction to claims made by the third trainer at “Dine with Shamu” that day, Jan Topoleski. He says he sounded the alarm immediately after Dawn went under, but Wilder remembers it differently. “There were no alarm bells that sounded, there was nothing, the attendant there did nothing,” she says, under oath, about those first frightful minutes. “We were on the top when the alarm bell sounded.”

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“I’m getting that body. I’m getting my friend.”

— Laura Surovik, Assistant Curator of Animal Training and close friend of Dawn Brancheau

Interviewed by Orange County Sheriff’s Office, February 24, 2010, 4:58PM.
related

DEATH AT SEAWORLD | EYEWITNESS INTERVIEW with Laura Surovik

Like Lynne Schaber, Surovik also displays extraordinary composure as she describes the efforts to get the rampaging Tilikum to relinquish Dawn. The 24-year park veteran calls Shamu Stadium her “home,” adding that, “I was here the day that Tilikum was brought in.” Dawn, she says touchingly in the present tense, “is my best friend.”

Surovik was at another stadium when the attack started, but she ran to help direct the effort to recover Dawn. “There were too many people and too much commotion. With killer whales, when there are so many people around, it will just excite them even more,” she states in another powerful testament to the dangers of the job. “They’ll latch onto the victim even greater.”

Once Tilikum was isolated in the medical pool and raised up on the false bottom, Surovik asked to clear people away, pleading that Dawn was “already gone and we don’t want him to mangle her body.” Then she put on a wetsuit and risked her own safety. “I made the decision,” she recalls. “I’m getting that body. I’m getting my friend.”

The recovery was anguishing. “He had her arm,” she says of Tilikum. “I could see her head. I could also see that her hair was missing. And he was shaking back and forth and I just said, ‘It’s alright baby, settle down.’ And I went and I got her and I cradled her torso. And I said, ‘It’s alright, let go.’ ”

Dawn was put on a stretcher and her wetsuit cut open. “Was her arm still attached?” the detective asks Surovik. A long pause ensues. “I don’t know because I was looking at her face,” she says. “My husband (Mike) told me—this is our ‘sister ring’—and that was the hand that he got. So I think the arm was gone because Mike said it was the hand that our ring was on.”

When it was over, Tilikum did not want to leave the pool, “because of Dawn,” Surovik says. “He knew she was there,” by the water’s edge. She went to an adjacent pool and tried to call him, slapping the surface. “He would look at me and respond. But it was like, ‘I gotta stay here.’ ” Dawn, she concludes, “was his possession at that point…it’s his, and it’s almost like, ‘Don’t try to take that away.’”

[www.takepart.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/2014 10:06AM by Alana33.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
January 30, 2014 07:35AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Another Day, Another Slaughter: 65 Striped Dolphins Killed in the Cove

[www.takepart.com]

Continuing an exceptionally murderous run, fishermen in Taiji, Japan, slaughtered 65 striped dolphins on Tuesday, reports Sea Shepherd.

“It was nothing short of a horror movie,” read a statement on the group’s Facebook page. By the end of the daylong hunt, the entire pod, “including babies and juveniles, was nothing more than slabs of meat loaded onto skiffs and used as seats for the killers on their way to the butcher house.”

The 65 deaths came on the heels of the town's fishermen killing 40 bottlenose dolphins on Jan. 22 and 24 on Jan. 9. Prior to the Jan. 22 cull, the largest one-day kill in the 2013–2014 hunting season had occurred on Nov. 23, 2013, when 54 striped dolphins met their demise.

According to Ceta-base, 1,270 dolphins from six species have been driven into the notorious killing cove this season; of those, 694 were killed, 422 were released, and 153 were captured live.

Every year beginning Sept. 1 and ending the following April, approximately 25 fishermen from the village, population 2,000, drive pods of dolphins and smaller whales from Japan’s Kuman-nada Sea into a shallow inlet. The younger ones are separated from their pod mates and sold for upwards of $125,000 each to aquariums in Japan and around the world. The others are impaled with harpoons and butchered—their mercury-rich meat destined for dining tables across parts of Asia.

Click here to learn more about what you can do to stop the annual slaughter, which was first brought to the world’s attention in 2009 by the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove.
[www.takepart.com]

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
February 06, 2014 10:05AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

For the first time, a Japanese newspaper has denounced the slaughter of dolphins in the cove at Taiji, a move that has heartened activists and put the Japanese government on notice that the tides may be changing within the country.

On Friday, The Japan Times, the country’s oldest and largest English-language newspaper, ran an editorial that stated, simply, “The dolphin hunt is an inhumane practice that should be stopped.”

The editorial breathed new life into the controversy over the Taiji slaughter, in which roughly 900 dolphins are killed annually in the tiny fishing village, and it led activists to declare a small but significant victory.

“It surprised me,” says Ric O’Barry of Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project and star of the Academy Award–winning documentary The Cove.

In 2005, four years before that film drew international media attention to the hunt, O’Barry and activists from Elsa Nature Conservancy (Japan’s oldest environmental group) visited with journalists from some of the country's newspapers, television channels, and radio stations. “We spent a couple of days giving them packages of information that the dolphin meat is contaminated with high levels of mercury and PCBs,” says O’Barry. But the journalists said their editors would likely "kill the story” for fear their publishers, who often work closely with government officials, would object. None of the outlets O'Barry met with published an anti-hunt op-ed.

The Japan Times editorial pulls no punches. “[The slaughter] is not for the faint of heart. Despite claims of humane killing methods, the video shows the fishermen hacking into the heads and backs of the panicked dolphins.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has defended the slaughter, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga recently told reporters that dolphin “fishing” is “traditional” and “carried out appropriately in accordance with the law.”

Animal activists challenge such assertions.

“Their argument that the force of tradition justifies the herding, capturing, and slaughtering of dolphins is a flimsy one,” The Japan Times stated, adding that the drive didn’t become a large-scale industry until 1969, “so its roots are quite shallow.”

O’Barry notes that despite being published in English, Japan Times stories are frequently picked up by Japanese-language papers and monitored by government officials and supporters of the hunts.

“All Japanese activists will read it and be encouraged” by such high-profile opposition, says O’Barry. “Only the Japanese people can stop this,” he adds.

The Cove director Louie Psihoyos is negotiating with the film’s Japanese distributor to buy back the rights. If that happens, the documentary would be shown for free, with subtitles, on YouTube and on popular Japanese websites. “There are 127 million Japanese people who never saw The Cove. When you see the film, you get it,” says O’Barry.

The op-ed’s strongest passage makes the case that tradition is no excuse for exploitive brutality.

“Many past cultural practices, such as slavery, bordellos, and beheading were stopped for ethical reasons,” it stated. “Tradition and culture are forces that change in accordance with new scientific understanding and evolving ethical standards.”

[www.takepart.com]

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
February 07, 2014 08:50AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Hollywood Celebs to Obama: Please Save the 'Cove' Dolphins

Russell Simmons, Sean Penn, Cher, Susan Sarandon, and other stars want Taiji dolphin slaughter tied to U.S. trade agreement with Japan.


The year is young, but it’s already shaping up to be a rocky one for dolphin killers in Taiji, Japan. Hard on the heels of U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy’s condemnation of the slaughter at the notorious cove and a scathing editorial in The Japan Times comes an equally damning letter signed by marquee-name celebrities calling on the U.S. to block a pending international trade agreement unless Japan ends the annual dolphin hunts.

On Wednesday, hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons and Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian Simone Reyes, who works for Simmons, sent a letter to Kennedy asking her to “personally deliver this petition to President Barack Obama urging him to not sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) until Japan bans the slaughter and capture of dolphins in Taiji.”

The letter was cosigned by a number of big names in Hollywood, animal activism, and politics, including Sean Penn, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone, Ellen DeGeneres, Charlize Theron, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Jesse Jackson, and Ingrid Newkirk, head of PETA.

"I'm glad our letter to Ambassador Kennedy for the president is making the rounds and will hopefully get our own government to do what they can to help stop the senseless, cruel slaughter of dolphins in Taiji," says Simmons.

The idea for the letter originated last November when Reyes traveled to Taiji, whose annual dolphin slaughter was made infamous in 2009 by the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove.

“I told Russell all about it, and he was horrified, as was everyone else,” she says. “We were trying to strategize ways to help [after] the whole world started watching around Jan. 17, when 250 bottlenose dolphins went into the cove, including a white baby calf named Angel. We knew the iron was hot, and it was time to strike.”

Simmons began calling his famous friends, and within a week the list of celebrities who eventually signed the letter blossomed.

Neither the State Department nor the White House answered requests for comment on the letter, but Kennedy publicly condemned the drives in a Jan. 17 tweet, writing: “Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. [U.S. Government] opposes drive hunt fisheries.”

Kennedy Tweet Sparks Global Outrage Over 'Cove' Slaughter

Her statement, which excited global activists and rattled officials in Tokyo and Taiji, was subsequently backed by State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, who told reporters on Jan. 21 that “we are concerned with both the sustainability and the humaneness of the Japanese dolphin hunts. We have been very clear that this is our position.”

Since Sept. 1, 2013, the beginning of this season’s drive hunt, the town’s two-dozen fishermen have killed more than 600 dolphins. An additional 150 have been taken captive, “slated to live lonely, degrading, psychosis-inducing lives analogous to enslavement at amusement parks, as chronicled in the film Blackfish,” reads the letter.

“The world is looking to you, Ambassador Kennedy, and to our government to send a clear message to Japan that this atrocity must be banned NOW,” the letter concludes.

Celebrities were careful not to take a position on the specifics of the trade deal as a whole. “We are not necessarily anti-TPP,” Reyes insists. “We are only pro-dolphin.”

Will the administration heed the admonition of such high-octane stars? “A lot of people listen” to Hollywood, Reyes notes. “A lot of people care about what their favorite actor or singer has to say, and we took advantage.”

Related Stories on TakePart

Death Returns to Taiji: 23 Pilot Whales Killed, 40 Bottlenose Dolphins Await Slaughter

Oscar Snubs 'Blackfish,' but the Film's Anti-Captivity Message Lives On

'The Cove' Director Gives Free DVD to Whole Town of Taiji
[www.takepart.com]

Now if they would only make it illegal to hold Marine Mammals in Captivity in the US and it's territories!

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
February 08, 2014 09:20AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Success! Captive Orcas Won’t Be Displayed at Winter Olympics


Read more: [www.care2.com]

Literally thousands of Care2 members signed the petition to tell Sochi, the Russian city that is hosting the Winter Olympics, not to display two wild orcas, a young female named Narina and a young male. Just this week it’s been confirmed that the two orcas will not be delivered to Sochi.

Narina had been captured in August 2012 off Russia’s coast in the Sea of Okhotsk by the White Sphere, a consortium of Russian companies. The young male orca was captured in September of 2013. Afterwards, both young orcas were transported miles inland to Moscow.

Erich Hoyt, the head of Global Marine Protected Areas Program at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, has confirmed that, according to the President of the Sochi Olympic Committee, the orcas will not be on display during the Olympics nor will a dolphin be made to participate in the Olympic torch relay.

While this is very good news, the ultimate fate of the two orcas remains very up in the air as Hoyt details on his Facebook page. Sochi has a dolphinarium, which captured a total of seven orcas in the Okhotsk Sea in 2013; some of these animals have reportedly been sent to China. Narina and at least one other orca are currently being held in “small pens” in Moscow. It’s possible that she and other orcas are being trained for circus shows in Russia or who knows where else.

In other words, there’s still a lot of work to be done to free Narina and the other orcas and see that they are returned to the wild.

Your signatures on the Care2 petition demanding that orcas not be displayed at Sochi were printed and mailed to President Putin and the Russian Government and helped raise awareness about these animals’ plight. Much more remains to be done to return them back to the wild.

Even as we can take heart about a successful campaign that has prevented the display of orcas in Sochi, we need to keep taking action and demand that Narina and the other orcas be returned to their natural habitat. Please start a petition to get the word out for their sake and to raise awareness about other pressing issues — your efforts do make a difference.big grin

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
February 08, 2014 05:41PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

This Is a First: Japanese Newspaper Op-Ed Condemns Taiji Dolphin Hunt

Calling the cove slaughter 'inhumane,' 'The Japan Times' argues the annual culling must be stopped.

For the first time, a Japanese newspaper has denounced the slaughter of dolphins in the cove at Taiji, a move that has heartened activists and put the Japanese government on notice that the tides may be changing within the country.

On Friday, The Japan Times, the country’s oldest and largest English-language newspaper, ran an editorial that stated, simply, “The dolphin hunt is an inhumane practice that should be stopped.”

The editorial breathed new life into the controversy over the Taiji slaughter, in which roughly 900 dolphins are killed annually in the tiny fishing village, and it led activists to declare a small but significant victory.

“It surprised me,” says Ric O’Barry of Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project and star of the Academy Award–winning documentary The Cove.

In 2005, four years before that film drew international media attention to the hunt, O’Barry and activists from Elsa Nature Conservancy (Japan’s oldest environmental group) visited with journalists from some of the country's newspapers, television channels, and radio stations. “We spent a couple of days giving them packages of information that the dolphin meat is contaminated with high levels of mercury and PCBs,” says O’Barry. But the journalists said their editors would likely "kill the story” for fear their publishers, who often work closely with government officials, would object. None of the outlets O'Barry met with published an anti-hunt op-ed.

The Japan Times editorial pulls no punches. “[The slaughter] is not for the faint of heart. Despite claims of humane killing methods, the video shows the fishermen hacking into the heads and backs of the panicked dolphins.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has defended the slaughter, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga recently told reporters that dolphin “fishing” is “traditional” and “carried out appropriately in accordance with the law.”

Animal activists challenge such assertions.

“Their argument that the force of tradition justifies the herding, capturing, and slaughtering of dolphins is a flimsy one,” The Japan Times stated, adding that the drive didn’t become a large-scale industry until 1969, “so its roots are quite shallow.”

O’Barry notes that despite being published in English, Japan Times stories are frequently picked up by Japanese-language papers and monitored by government officials and supporters of the hunts.

“All Japanese activists will read it and be encouraged” by such high-profile opposition, says O’Barry. “Only the Japanese people can stop this,” he adds.

The Cove director Louie Psihoyos is negotiating with the film’s Japanese distributor to buy back the rights. If that happens, the documentary would be shown for free, with subtitles, on YouTube and on popular Japanese websites. “There are 127 million Japanese people who never saw The Cove. When you see the film, you get it,” says O’Barry.

The op-ed’s strongest passage makes the case that tradition is no excuse for exploitive brutality.

“Many past cultural practices, such as slavery, bordellos, and beheading were stopped for ethical reasons,” it stated. “Tradition and culture are forces that change in accordance with new scientific understanding and evolving ethical standards.”


[www.takepart.com]

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
February 11, 2014 11:54AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

This is an older article:

SeaWorld Orca Dies in Spain

After demonstrating ‘strange behaviors’ in the days prior, a 10-month-old whale passes away.

An infant female orca by the name of Vicky has died at the Loro Parque amusement park in the Canary Islands, park officials announced today on its Facebook page.

Vicky, just 10 months old, had been rejected by her mother Kohana, a young orca who was ripped from her own mother’s side at just 19 months of age and eventually shipped off to Tenerife.

“In contrast with joy with which Loro Parque announced the birth of the second baby orca in Spain, last August 3rd, today with enormous regret we inform you of the sad demise of Vicky, who with so much emotion and affection, the team of OrcaOcean cared for in her 10 months of life,” Loro Parque’s Facebook page says.

The death was sudden and the cause unknown, though Vicky had been showing unusual behaviors in recent days, according to the post. It was serious enough to fly in SeaWorld’s chief veterinarian to perform an examination.

The orcas at Loro Parque all belong to SeaWorld, and are cared for and trained according to SeaWorld protocols. In 2006, the company flew four young whales—two females, Kohana and Skyla, and two males, Keto and Tekoa—to Spain on a “breeding loan.”

About two years later Kohana, at just six years of age, (extremely young for an orca) was impregnated and, in 2010, gave birth to a male calf named Adan. All orcas born at Loro Parque are the legal property of SeaWorld.

Kohana, however, was an utterly unfit mother, and she wanted nothing to do with Adan, rejecting him almost immediately.

Many critics speculated that Kohana had simply never learned how to be a mother, because there were no mother orcas at Loro Parque for her to emulate. It didn’t help matters that Kohana only spent 19 months with her own mother before being taken away.

Even as Adan was being hand-nursed by park staff, Kohana became pregnant again, this time with Vicky. The father in both pregnancies was Keto, who is Kohana’s uncle, making Adan and Vicky more inbred orcas to add to SeaWorld’s “collection.” One whale at a SeaWorld park was impregnated by her own son. According to bloodline charts, Vicky was related to 21 out of 26 SeaWorld killer whales.

Last year, when Vicky was born, Kohana again immediately rejected her calf. The double-tragedy was covered beautifully by Elizabeth Batt at Digital Journal.

I have been studying killer whale issues intensively for about three years, and have never heard of a mother rejecting her calf in the wild. It is hard to imagine. But in my book Death at SeaWorld, I document several cases of maternal rejection in captivity.

TakePart has written about Loro Parque in the past, including this article about the female orca Morgan who, after stranding in the Netherlands, was sent to Tenerife and is now listed on SeaWorld’s stock offering as belonging to them.

And last December, in another piece, TakePart reported that, “Advocates were aghast at the trans-Atlantic arrangement. Killer whales, whether in the ocean or a crowded pool, are highly socialized animals who learn from elders about proper norms of behavior. Mothers, grandmothers and older siblings keep youngsters in check, and extinguish outbursts of disharmony that disrupt cohesion and proper pod functioning.”

“These whales are so young, without a normal upbringing, and now they’re in Spain together without any sort of adult orca supervision,’ one observer said. ‘It’s like Lord of the Flies over there.

It’s not clear if Kohana’s rejection of Vicky, or her inbreeding, contributed to her death (50 percent of wild-born orcas do not survive their first year). But it’s just another sad mark on the history and reputation of Loro Parque.

As I wrote in my book, at least one trainer was deeply concerned about the whales, and the way that Kohana’s uncle, Keto, kept trying to breed with her.

The trainer, Alex Martinez, turned to his personal diary to describe his growing worries about the erratic behavior. The whales’ seemingly bottomless sex drives were on the verge of upending the fragile social order imposed upon the hormonally charged adolescents.

“Keto is obsessed with controlling Kohana, he won’t separate from her, including shows,” Martinez wrote. Tekoa was also “very sexual when he is alone with Kohana.”

A few months later, Keto would “go off behavior” and brutally ram Martinez in the chest, killing him. Just two months after that, Dawn Brancheau would be mortally wounded in a similar fashion at SeaWorld Florida by the three-time killer Tilikum, who happens to be grandfather to Kohana and great-grandfather to her two hapless children, one of them now tragically gone.

[www.takepart.com]

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
February 15, 2014 06:50PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Beluga Gone Bad? Gentle Giant Appears to Attack Trainer at Marineland


But the performance continues, as the young worker writhes in pain before a packed house.


A trainer was injured on Thursday, August 8 at Marineland, in Ontario, Canada, during a show featuring two beluga whales. The injured trainer, a young female, was taken to the hospital after the incident, according to the blog Everyone Hates Marineland.

The incident was also videotaped and posted on YouTube by someone named Tom Blake. In it, at around 1:45 minutes, it appears that something is not right with the female trainer and the whale she is working with. Then, instead of springing up vertically out of the water and onto the “slideout” area, as her male counterpart does, she needs to be helped from the pool by her colleague, before collapsing in what appears to be serious pain.

“Reports came in today that a rookie trainer was injured at Marineland. An ambulance was called to the Niagara Falls abusement park early this afternoon,” the anti-Marineland site said. “Marineland has made no comment confirming the accident but sources say the trainer was a female and injured while performing a stunt. No word on which animals may have been involved in the show at the time.”

Attempts to reach Marineland and Tom Blake were not immediately successful.

Phil Demers, another former trainer, who is being sued by Marineland for defamation, says it is not clear how the injury occurred. “I have it broken down into two scenarios,” he explains. “The first is that the inexperienced trainer appears to be performing a slide-out dismount and hits her knee against the wall. This hurts; I’ve done it.”

The other scenario, Demers says, “is that the beluga actually bites and holds onto the trainer’s leg. I’ve never seen or known a beluga to do that, but they have mouths, so it’s possible. The reason I even suggest this scenario is that it appears from the video that the beluga in fact does have (trainer) Sydney’s thigh or knee in his mouth, as you can also clearly see the trainer immediately tries to get the other inexperienced trainer’s attention prior to the likely moment of impact with a wall.”
related

And, Demers adds, the male trainer appears to notice something going on, “and he recalls the whale back to stage rather frantically. This leads me to believe she may have been bitten, but I don’t know with certainty. What I do know, is the ambulance was called and that a witness told me Sidney was screaming in pain—and the injury was to the knee.”

Beluga whales, those gentle white cetaceans with the mysterious faces, are not typically known as aggressive animals. Indeed they are a favorite of marine mammal display facilities because of their otherworldly beauty, and their general docility around adults and children. In nearly three years of researching cetacean captivity for Death at SeaWorld, this writer had never come across any incidents of beluga aggression against humans.

But Demers says he has “received and witnessed many injuries by belugas. They’re big animals and can thrash with tremendous force when put in compromising and stressful situations.” He says he personally witnessed injuries such as fractured knees, ankles and toes. “I had a tooth go through my bottom lip when a beluga’s fluke struck me in the face like a right hook,” he says. “I’ve also seen belugas clamp down on trainers’ hands during a force feed medical procedure. That hurts.”

If it was an act of aggression, there may be something about the tiny habitat and living arrangements for the belugas. “In all my years of working with belugas, there was never the dynamic of exclusively two whales, with one being male and one female, in a small pool adjacent to dolphins,” Demers says. “Maybe there is more stress on these two belugas than they’ve experienced in their former pools, consisting of many belugas. Certainly the stress to perform five times a day could get to them, because they’re only been show animals for two seasons.”

Whatever the cause of the injury, one thing is clear at Marineland: the show doesn’t stop, even for a serious injury.

“This is an unfortunate example of how the show must go on, despite an apparent injury to this trainer,” says Jeffrey Ventre, a former whale and dolphin trainer at SeaWorld Orlando. “Keep in mind this is an entertainment production, and not an educational one.” Ventre worked with belugas for three and a half years at SeaWorld and once saw a saw a beluga grab a trainer’s hand and forearm and not let go for nearly a minute.

While at SeaWorld, Ventre adds, “we were always encouraged to just keep smiling and bring as little attention to acts of aggression as possible. Looking at stuff like this makes me sad, and reminds me of how the trainers are almost as exploited as the animals in their care. Lastly, it goes to show how placing even gentle belugas in unnatural environments can lead to aggression.”

Alex Dorer, the leader of the anti-captivity group Fins and Fluke, who recently visited Marineland and attended a protest there, also thinks the stress of captivity can even lead a docile beluga to acts of aggression.

“Both of these belugas reside in the small holding pool to the right. It really doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that it took it upon itself to bite its trainer,” she says. “This animal is probably extremely depressed, very unhappy and probably frustrated living in such cramped quarters with another large beluga—they don’t have the space to roam or spread out the way they would in the wild.”

The video comes at a bad time for SeaWorld, which is suing OSHA in Federal Appeals Court in an attempt to allow its trainers to get back in the water with whales—but this time, of the killer, not beluga variety.

Generally speaking, people and cetaceans are not supposed to come into close physical contact with each other. When that happens, bad things can happen, and people get sent to hospitals. Is captivity responsible for this particular young woman’s injuries? That will be left up to public opinion.

[www.takepart.com]

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
February 20, 2014 08:27PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

[secure.peta.org]
Please sign the above petition:

Tell Travel Show to Cancel SeaWorld Exhibit

SeaWorld is pulling out all the stops in an effort to recover from the growing backlash after the film Blackfish blew the lid off the marine park's disturbing confinement of orcas. Its latest attempt to win customers back is a booth at this weekend's Travel & Adventure Show at the Washington Convention Center. SeaWorld is a sponsor of the show and will be giving presentations featuring live animals throughout the weekend. Please ask the show's organizers to at least ban SeaWorld from bringing frightened animals—who are guaranteed to be physically and mentally stressed among the massive crowds and loud noise—to the convention center and urge them not to accept SeaWorld's sponsorship in the future.

Twenty-five orcas died in SeaWorld facilities between 1986 and 2010—an average of nearly one each year—and not one died of old age. Celebrities, investors, and the tourism industry can no longer hide from the facts: SeaWorld is responsible for denying dozens of sentient marine mammals everything that is natural and important to them. It's is a dying business that refuses to change with the times.


Campaign Updates
January 7, 2014
PETA Shareholder Resolution Calls On SeaWorld to Shift Orcas to Coastal Sanctuaries

Last year when SeaWorld stock went public, PETA became shareholders so that we could attend and speak at annual meetings and submit shareholder resolutions asking for policy changes. And that's what we're doing.

SeaWorld's business model is cruel and archaic. Confining orcas to tanks that can be measured in gallons is not scientifically or ethically acceptable. SeaWorld's small cement pools cannot begin to meet the needs of these intelligent, social, long-lived, and large-bodied animals.

In their rightful ocean home, orcas live in families, swim up to 100 miles a day, swim at high speeds, and dive to great depths, which is impossible at SeaWorld. PETA proposes a new "theme park" model: moving the orcas to coastal sanctuaries.

Sea pens will allow orcas greater freedom of movement and the opportunity to see, sense, and communicate with their wild relatives and other ocean animals; to feel the tides and waves; and to engage in other natural behavior that they are now denied. The orcas would have a degree of autonomy and self-determination. Family groups could be preserved, and incompatible animals wouldn't be forced together. Caregivers would remain at a safe distance but could monitor the orcas and provide them with food as well as veterinary care if necessary.

Coastal sanctuaries could also be of educational value to the public. Visitor or "whale watching" centers could be constructed near the sanctuaries, with opportunities for remote viewing of the orcas, educational tours focused on providing information about orcas and their habitats, and cafés and gift shops.

SeaWorld has made considerable profit by capturing, breeding, confining, and putting animals on display. Our suggestion is a win-win proposal for everyone, especially the orcas, who have endured so much misery for so long.

Please see this link:[www.seaworldofhurt.com]

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

speee1dy
February 21, 2014 08:14AM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 8,216

PETA isnt a non violent organization. they have no problem promoting violence to get their point across that it is not okay to harm animals.

kind of hypocritical

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
February 21, 2014 08:26AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Hyprocritical or not, at least they are doing something to help these magnificent marine mammals.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

Alana33
February 21, 2014 03:44PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

If you have not read this previously:

[www.humanesociety.org]

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