Re: “And Justice for all killer whales” (February 29, 2012)

Organizations such as PETA need to focus there their efforts on far more relevant issues than declaring there is such a thing as whale “slavery”.

Besides extra publicity for their organization, PETA taking legal action against SeaWorld seems extremely far-fetched and irrelevant to conservation.

Associations like PETA are important in spreading the word about animal welfare and ecosystem biodiversity. However, when you bring up 13th amendment rights about human slavery and try to apply them to the whales at SeaWorld, you are strongly calling into question the credibility of your group.

The SeaWorld corporations currently have some of the best marine wildlife facilities to care for their animals. Only through showcasing these majestic whales to an audience will the public gain knowledge about the killer whale as an integral marine species.

Orcinus orca is currently on the U.S. Endangered Species list due to problems involving pollution, loss of prey, and habitat destruction. People do need to know about these issues and how to begin a remediation process to address these concerns.

SeaWorld should be commended for exposing children to these great mammals and the environmental concerns they face through the means of entertainment and award winning interactive education programs. Getting future generations of marine biologists or ecologists excited about marine issues by watching a well feed, “Shamu” play in his clean, perfectly adequate size tank has a far greater impact than horror reports that come from PETA’s blog website.

There is no question conservation of the killer whale is imperative to the species’ future success. The bottom line is that to make sure the killer whale does not go from the Endangered Species list to the extinct list means organizations addressing species conservation have to work together to create meaningful, positive change for the animals and the natural habitats in which they reside.

Spending more time focusing on relevant issues like ecosystem management and biodiversity within the oceans is what these organizations should really be paying attention to.

In order to get people to take them seriously, discussion needs to be formulated on the basis of the economy. The time, energy, and resources currently being spent on suing SeaWorld for using killer whales as an educational tool could be used far more effectively.

If conservation and the welfare of species is the ultimate goal, then organizations must be more intentional in assessing what the species’ needs really are, so that whales will continue to thrive in their current habitats.

Lindsey Banman
(Environmental studies)