Morgan: No Damsel In Distress

Anyone who begins an article, which compares the slave trade to animals in zoological collections, could be said to be allegedly as morally bankrupt as the suggestion itself: also invoking Godwin's law with comments on Auschwitz are equally repugnant but sadly a disappointing reflection on the calibre of the below cited article. 

Nonetheless, slavery is exactly what Matthew Spiegl suggests at the beginning of his recent article in The Huffington Post regarding the care of killer whales at the US Sea World marine parks. 


Of course, this is not the first time that human slavery and zoo animal care has been put forward. In October 2011, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) brought a case against the Sea World theme parks citing slavery and involuntary servitude under the 13th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States for five killer whales displayed at the parks.  The lawsuit failed and was dismissed.   Thus PeTA again exposed itself to ridicule from most right-minded people and the probable anger of many African Caribbean's who families were real slaves.
Spiegl's article was triggered by the news that the Sea World parks are to be floated on the US stock market and to promote yet another propaganda exercise by the animal-rights movement in the form of the film "Blackfish".

The article continues along a predictable course of an animal-rights advocate.  Sea World are portrayed as scheming villains with no good intent with his colleagues in the animal-rights industry portrayed as gallant knights, out to slay the ruthless dragon of commercial greed and free the damsel in distress. 

One particular damsel in this case is a young female killer whale that stranded on the Dutch coast starving and near death in June 2010.  The animal was rescued by the group SOS Delfijn and employees from Dolfinarium Harderwijk, which provided care for the animal at their facility in the Netherlands.  Due to the hard work and dedication of the parks staff Morgan (as she became known)  was rehabilitated but deemed unfit for release and moved  to live with a group of captive bred killer whales at Loro Park Tenerife, Spain in November 2011.

Details of Mogan's rescue and recovery can be found HERE.

Spiegl's argues for the release of Morgan but provides very little in the way of compelling or new evidence that would be appropriate to overturn original conclusion not to return her to the wild.

He comments that because Sea World were involved in giving advice in Morgan's rehabilitation this is something sinister but fails to understand that they would be asked as they are the leading specialists in the care and breeding of killer whales in zoological parks.

Moreover, his further citing of the movement of whales and dolphins between marine parks decades ago also has no contemporary relevance.  Neither is linking current animal acquisitions to Japanese and other drive fisheries, as Sea World displays no animals acquired in this way.  In fact, most animals displayed in the US and mainland Europe are from captive breeding.

Drive Fisheries and aquaria information HERE

More damning, Spiegl carefully leaves out the most recent evidence specifically regarding Morgan's health as specialist examination shows she is hearing impaired or deaf.  The reality of this finding is that she can never be released, as deaf cetaceans cannot survive in the wild environment.

Details HERE

Whilst Spiegl calls for a debate on these animals in captive care, his polemic is no more than special pleading for the position of his fellow animal-rights travellers and is not a debate at all as no alternative position is given.

Unfortunately, these discussions of animals as quasi-humans say little about the animals themselves - as they are not and never will be humans-  but say much about those promoting this position.  As always, these dialogues are about the human condition and the stark difference between the ideology of animal-rights and the promotion of animal-welfare.

As an "Ocean Advocate" Spiegl would be better placed to continue to promote such issues as plastics pollution of the ocean and sea environment that is a genuine danger to marine wildlife than the fate of a disabled whale living in a marine park.