Sunday, February 24, 2013

Remembering the Fallen

Today, we remember fallen colleagues & ask for a shift in the way we think about whales & dolphins  

No matter which side of the captivity debate you're on, one thing that can be said regarding anyone that has trained marine mammals is that they did it for the opportunity to be close to animals that they loved; despite the low wages and the sometimes alarming consequences for the animals in their care. Most current and former trainers have multiple pets at home, and in general, appreciate nature. 

>> click on images to enlarge <<

As former workers in the captivity industry, we've changed our ways and come to appreciate the marine mammals that we worked with even more, not less. This was amplified, for us, after visiting cetaceans in the Pacific Northwest, swimming in straight lines, jumping out of the water, and with erect dorsal fins. These incredible marine mammals have demonstrated, to us, self-awareness, tool use, language, culture, and family bonds that are stronger than even humans.  We feel they've earned "non-human personhood status." 

Thus, despite our longing to be with them, we now know that it's not in their best interest to be in captivity; housed in concrete pools, surrounded by human noises including amplified music, air-powered pneumatic gates, and sometimes heavy equipment such as jack-hammering and drilling. We know that killer whales die young in captivity, experience social strife, dehydration, and deconditioning. Beluga whales & false killer whales don't do any better. 

We see the perpetuation of cetacean captivity as inhumane, unnecessary, and morally wrong; and costly to BOTH whales and humans. Let's do the right thing, save lives, and show our humanity. 

We'll miss the loving souls depicted in these images. They were dedicated, charismatic, and amazing individuals. Let's not lose any more to the archaic practice of marine mammal confinement. 


  1. This is so beautiful. Thank you for writing it. You have raised an important issue that many anti-caps neglect, and sometimes adamantly refuse, to acknowledge: Most trainers DO love the animals they work with (I cannot say this for all -- the Taiji trainers have my emphatic, wholehearted contempt and disgust). The fact remains, however, that no matter how alluring the work, if anyone truly loves cetacea, they must oppose captivity IMHO
    Thank you for honoring Dawn and the other amazing people who have lost their Lives to Tilly, a very, very miserable whale suffering more than anyone will ever truly know.
    If you love orca and/or other cetacea, please -- PLEASE -- consider the facts apart from emotion and the allure of personal gratification. I would love to have such a close relationship with any of these beautiful, magnificent beings, but I also accept that because of that love, I have to consider their best interest.
    "If you love something, set it free..."
    Dawn and Tilikum's other victims will Live on in our hearts and memories forever. I hope each has found peace in the hereafter. <3

  2. You're welcome, Ana. Thanks for reading the piece and for your words of wisdom. Much appreciated!

  3. Governments are spending Millions of dollars in searching the stars for a non-human intelligence. I've worked on three different Interspecies communications projects and I can say that it is right here on the planet.

    If the money spent on that search was redirected to research directed at Cetaceans we would be talking to them in under a year. There is no scientific rule that says there can only be one Intelligent species per planet.

    1. Some of us already do talk with them (all animals), telepathically. And anyone can learn.

  4. Thank you for this moving remembrance of the humans who have died while working with captive whales. I do have one suggestion and that is to be sure to call not only the humans victims, but also the whales. Had they never been victims of kidnapping and captivity, there would not have been these human victims.

  5. I was waiting for SeaWorld to say something ... anything ... in memory of Dawn's fourth anniversary but of course that doesn't generate any money so she was forgotten once again. Thank YOU for remembering. And I absolutely agree with every syllable written by Ana above.

  6. Thank you. Beautifully written sentiments shared by so many. I hope that others will open their hearts & minds & realize this practoce is archaic.

  7. I can't contain myself today, had the proper respect been paid to those dead, especially Alexis Martinez then Dawn would still be here. They lied about Daniel Dukes his medical examiners report proves that and they tried to hide the death of Alexis. Worst of all they then stood in court and blamed Dawn for her own death, that can never be unsaid, never be undone, it is logged in the court documents for ALL to read. For that they should hang their heads in shame and they should have been closed there and then. The should never be forgiven for the disrespect they showed all the trainers who have died, been seriously injured and scarred trying to provide a better life for those orcas who should not be in there in the first place.

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