Killer Whales in Captivity: Entertainment or Torture?

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Killer Whales in Captivity: Entertainment or Torture? The death of the SeaWorld Orlando’s trainer Dawn Brancheau, in 2010, by one of their performing orcas (named Tilikum) and the subsequent release, in 2013, of the documentary Blackfish, have raised a major controversy not only among animal advocates such as PETA (People of Ethical Treatment of Animals) but also the regular marine park attendees. If the incidents presented in marine parks around the world, over the course of several the years, were not been hidden or ignored, this horrifying accident could have been prevented. The fact that some incidents were kept a secret from the public and new trainers, worsen the situation. After so many years and incidents, the captivity of killer whales or orcas (Orcinus orca) merely for entertainment purposes should be prohibited. The limitation of space and most important the deprivation of freedom modify the behavior of orcas making them aggressive, even depressive and prone to hurt themselves and the humans who interact with them. With a brain four times larger than the human brain, the killer whales are among the most intelligent species in the world (Kirby 2). Studies have shown that their brains are more complex than human’s. The orcas’ brains have an “extra” part that makes them considerable more emotional. As cited on Tim Zimmermann’s article, the marine biologist Ken Balcomb stresses that: One of the most important things to know about killer whales like Tilikum is that, in the wild they live in complex and highly social family pods of 20 to 50 animals. The pods are organized around the females. The matriarch is usually the oldest female (some live to 80 or more), who has a wealth of experience and knowledge about where food can be found. Within the pod, mothers are at the center of smaller family groups. Males, who can live 50 or 60 years,

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