Arguing Cause Project Plan Final Draft LM

Should Animals Be Held In Captivity?

How would you like to go from living in the endless ocean to a tank that is this dimensionally size of a bathtub to an average size human? The deepest tank for the orcas at SeaWorld is 40 feet deep which it not nearly enough for the orcas and their needs. (BlackFish) As of 2014, there are 56 orcas being held in captivity, 22 wild-captured 35 captive-born, and these 56 orcas also have a life expectancy lowered by 32 years. (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society) The average orca life expectancy is 40 years but for an orca in captivity it lowers to the minute amount of eight years. (Blackfish) In this day and age, animals are being used as pawns in our game of enjoyment and greed. We need to evaluate why we are truly imprisoning these animals and if the risk and reward of keeping these animals trapped is fully worth it. Animals are being kept in captivity mainly for entertainment purposes and are being poorly treated on a day-to-day basis because zoos and marinas are looking to bring in a larger profit on the animal’s entertainment ability rather than spend money keeping the animal healthy and happy.

One of zoos and marinas main attraction is their orcas and other underwater wildlife. People are willing to pay extra just to see the underwater animals put on a show. This is entertainment that intrigues the general public to take a trip to the zoo or marina and spend money to even just enter. A zoo to some may be entertainment but to others it is a business and moneymaking opportunity. On average, SeaWorld has a reported attendance average of 11 million people. The average price to just enter SeaWorld and not purchasing any souvenir or any food while in the park can range from 35 dollars dollars to 95 dollars depending on your age, location and extras that can be included in with the ticket. (SeaWorld)If one were to compute the total minimum SeaWorld makes in a year they would find the total revenue to be 825 million dollars. This shows how this operation is a huge money-maker for the owner if played right. If one were to use minimal money and give each animal the least amount of space possible there can be more exhibits inserted to attract even more people. With more attractions come more money for the owner so gaining at the expensive of the animals well being is what the owners need to understand is happening and that it is not alright. For every 1,000,000 dollars that SeaWorld brings in in profits, only 600 dollars goes towards animal conservation. This is roughly 5 cents per ticket. (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society) If an animal can touch both sides of its holding tank with its nose and the end of it’s tail, the tank is drastically too small for the animal. These living conditions and environment these animals are being forced to live in are what is leading the animals to act out. If the animals were treated to a better-suited lifestyle less accidents would be likely to occur because the animals would be content. Since the release of the film, Blackfish, SeaWorld has had to make excuses and later make changes to the way the orcas were living to ensure they continue to yield high profits. In the article, To Appear Less Heartless, SeaWorld Is Building Bigger Bathtubs For It’s Killer Whales, Jordan Weissman reports that SeaWorld is planning upgrades after SeaWorld’s stock price had crashed by about a third of its previous amount. The upgrades will take place in the pools where there will be a new depth of 50 feet. The upgrade is going to increase the size of the pool by almost twice the amount and will hold ten million gallons of water. Along with the size increase of the pool, there are plans in the mix to install an underwater treadmill so the animals will have more exercise. This underwater treadmill will be the first of its kind and will give scientists a better understanding as to how these animals burn their energy. San Diego will be the first of the three locations to have this installed and then the other parks will follow. Even though this is a big step for zoos and marinas, it still does not solve the problem that these massive animals are used to having free reign.

Some may say that zoos and marinas, such as SeaWorld, are more beneficial than harmful. People that can pay a small price, in the grand scheme of things, to have the opportunity to see and experience these exotic animals in a captive state instead of paying an arm and a leg to see the animals in their natural habitat in the wildlife. It is not everyday that someone gets to venture out a few hours from their house to enjoy such beautiful animals. Truly experiencing an animal in the wild would mean that one would have to venture out thousands of miles by plane or car, depending on the location, to see these animals. Not every family has the money to take those kinds of vacations, nor do they have the ability to take that much time off of work. When there are businesses such as SeaWorld in Florida’s backyard, the cost to see these animals is not as high and a day trip can be made at more of a convenience. Off of the coast of British Columbia, there have been previous sightings of orca pods, as well as off the coast of Greenland. If the person interested in seeing orcas in their natural habitat lived anywhere besides the area of British Colombia, they would have to pay hefty fees in either plane tickets or in gas in order to get to the location. After travel fees there are hotel fees, and there could be fees towards the corporation that are putting out the opportunity to see the animal which could get pricey. At Stubbs Whale Watching, located in Telegraph Cove, British Colombia, the ticket price for one adult admission is 99 dollars, ten dollars off if you are a senior age 65+, and children age’s two to twelve cost 84 dollars. (Stubbs Whale Watching)

Of course, there are instances where animals are not being kept in captivity for entertainments purposes, but to better the lives of the animals. There are wildlife conservations that allow animals to live in their natural habitats and proceed to live a fairly normal life. These are put in place because the specific types of species are being pushed to the brink of extinction. The animals are put into habitats that replicate their natural habitats. They are allowed to roam free and are not forced to perform tricks for enjoyment purposes. This allows the animals to regenerate their population. Once they have reached an acceptable population level, the animals are released back into the wild. An example of this can be found in Ethiopia, where the Ethiopian Wildlife Center is home to multiple different rare and endangered species. These animals are facing wildlife trade and habitat loss. In 2007, Born Free USA partnered with the federal democratic government of Ethiopia to set up a rescue facility where the animals and their populations could be protected from the dangers of the free world. Because of where Ethiopia is located, it is hard for the government and wildlife officials to enforce laws regarding wildlife trade. If and when an animal was discovered being illegally held, officials had nowhere to take the animals where they would be safe. The Ethiopian Wildlife center was designed to provide shelter for multiple different species such as cheetahs, tortoises, elephants and lions, that could be nursed back to health or have long term care provided for those that are unable to return to their natural habitat. The habitats that are provided in the Wildlife center closely resemble that of the animal’s natural habitat. The rescue center is staged for lions with large grassy areas, trees and water.

Animals do not deserve the treatment that we are giving them in corporations such as SeaWorld. Corporations are more concerned about how much profit they are making off of the animals instead of the well being of the animals. On a daily basis, animals are being treated poorly and their mental states are diminishing rapidly because of it. Although, SeaWorld may make a lot of money for the region and the surrounding community, the well being of the animals must be the first priority. If the animals were to be treated properly, there would be less deaths on the trainer’s side of the fence and the animals would live longer than their life expectancy while in captivity. There is no greater power that is to blame for the things that happen with and around the animals except our selves. Humans have taken advantage of the power that they yield, and cannot put the blame on everything that has happened to the animals towards a different cause.

Works Cited

BlackFish. DVD.

"Born Free USA Global Field Projects." Ethiopian Wildlife Center. Web. 29 Mar. 2015. <http://www.bornfreeusa.org/fieldprojects.php?p=2932&more=1>.

Experience Stubbs Island Whale Watching Adventure! Web. 29 Mar. 2015. <http://www.stubbs-island.com>.

"The Fate of Captive Orcas." WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Web. 29 Mar. 2015. <http://us.whales.org/wdc-in-action/fate-of-captive-orcas>.

OB Rag RSS. Web. 29 Mar. 2015. <http://obrag.org/?p=86428>.

SeaWorld Theme Parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego. Web. 29 Mar. 2015. <http://seaworld.com/?webSyncID=10984138-6d42-8031-1819-21d73da328e1&sessionGUID=7241b3b0-0a56-12d4-35eb-87ad0a924354&_ga=1.202874834.259201547.1427574925>.

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