Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Politics of Captivity and Why Your Vote Matters




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If you're disillusioned with the political environment in the United States...   join the club

Frankly, and sadly, as Ice Cube & Tom Morello recently put it, "Everythang's Corrupt." [note: The video is hardcore]

That said, there is a clear choice this election, and we at Voice of the Orcas believe the Obama-Biden Administration is more suited to deal with issues like climate change and ocean acidification; things that directly impact humans, whales, and all life on Earth. This is reflected, already, in the President's investment in clean-energy renewable resources such as wind and solar. See how many wind turbines have been added to this Central Washington landscape since our President was elected in 2008: 

It's worth pointing out that the GOP and it's voters are pro-deregulation. For them, it's all about providing a business climate that does one thing: 

Make Money for Corporations

We have no problem with businesses making profits, but only if it's done responsibly. Often times, the de-regulators get rid of policies and rules that protect animals and nature. Incredulously, the GOP hasn't officially recognized that climate change is happening. 

It's this deregulation & tweaking of the Marine Mammal Protection Act that has gutted oversight of places like SeaWorld, the Miami SeaQuarium, & various marine zoos, and catalyzed the explosive development of these dolphin swim-with programs in places like Las Vegas and the Florida Keys. This translates into more dead dolphins & pilot whales at The Cove. 

We don't believe there is educational value to this. Unfortunately, two of these orca,Taku & Kalina, died young, at 14 & 25, respectively. Taku from West Nile Virus, and Kalina from bacteria in her blood

This is wrong. NOAA & APHIS should be more empowered to protect marine mammals, not less. 

(Only time will tell if the Georgia Aquarium & SeaWorld will successfully import 18 Russian caught belugas). 

We believe that an Obama Administration is more likely to enforce regulations that are already on the books, and will interpret legislation like the Marine Mammal Protection Act more favorably than a pro-Romney, (more) pro-corporation, administration.

We also believe that an Obama Administration is more likely to uphold the recent findings of the OSHA v SeaWorld hearings, in Sanford, Florida. SeaWorld has appealed this ruling, and a Romney appointed Secretary of Labor is more likely to "roll back" OSHA's findings, and his orders. Back in June, Federal Judge Ken S. Welsch stated: 

"SeaWorld's own incident reports demonstrate that its safety program, either due to misplaced faith in operant conditioning or due to human error in implementing operant conditioning, exposes its trainers to the risks of death or serious physical injury."

Read Judge Welsch's entire verdict here. We recommend you skip the legal stuff in the beginning and go to the final pages:

This is embarrassing.  The justification for keeping cetaceans, like Lolita, in captivity, is that the place educates. What are we teaching our children by endorsing this type of activity? Poor Lolita. 

It's also interesting to note that theses places promote, endorse, and give the majority of their campaign dollars to GOP candidates, and less for conservation:   

SeaWorld Gave GOP More Money than It Spent on Conservation

These dollars are provided to mostly Republican candidates because they often lead to benefits for the companies, including loosening the rules associated with cetacean captivity. Despite record profits in 2011, SeaWorld paid no Federal Income Tax this year. Read that story here: 

Shamu the shrewd? SeaWorld sees record earnings -- and no income tax

Loosening regulations on the #SeaCircus has created a demand for more cetaceans. The end result is that Russian and Japanese collectors are experiencing large financial incentives to trap and even kill cetaceans, as is happening in The Cove, right now.  To quote a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dmitri Glasov: 

"Over probably the last three years, since China is developing quickly and they are building oceanariums, they are requesting lots of these animals. In Russia, as strange as it sounds, there is quite high domestic demand for this animal, too. That's why the number of commercial organizations that want to catch them and apply for permission to do so has gone up.