I love the orcas. Always have. I've got my own framed Christian Riece Lassen poster, if you must know, and that is a sign of so much love for an animal that you'll pay way too much for a poster with a guy's name on it because he paints beautiful pictures of those animals. Ever since I was a kid, I've loved those animals. In fact, I had wanted to be a marine biologist for a time. Of course, when a fan of something, you want to see it. Sadly, the only venue for orcas (besides a trip out in the ocean) is a SeaWorld park.
No doubt you've heard about the orca that killed the trainer at the SeaWorld park this week. Apparently, this animal has been involved in two previous human deaths, so the rules surrounding him were strict. To hear SeaWorld and witnesses tell it, the trainer hadn't been abiding by the rules that day, and the whale acted accordingly. Still, a tragedy.
Here's my thing: these animals should not be used to "entertain" the masses. Quite obviously, just playing around is a dangerous sport with them. When a game of tag ends with a dead person, I think it's time for the whales to no longer be playing with people. Wild animals that are too big to defend against, too smart to out think, and too strong to get away from, should not be part of an amusement park, and certainly should not be playing in the water with people. Honestly, did none of these people see Jurassic Park? "These animals are ... living creatures, and they'll defend themselves. Violently, if necessary."
For humane and obvious reasons, these captive whales can't be released back into the wild. They wouldn't survive without the human assistance they've had for so many years. Would it be just as cruel to give them nothing but the existence of a zoo animal? It seems like their mental acuity requires the stimulation that the trainers and the activities provide.
I propose that SeaWorld keeps the animals they have and continue acting as they do, but that the parks not acquire any new orcas, and let the orca program die with the last of the animals, would be the best course of action. But that's an orca lover's opinion. A SeaWorld "Shamu"-profit lover would have no qualms about keeping the whole thing as status quo.