As a child, I have already been to Marineland, a marine park in the south of France, and I was fascinated by its huge killer whales and dolphins performing in the pool. Yes, but I grew up and realized how these marine parks are a nightmare for all the animals held captive inside. Forcing dolphins or orcas to perform shows for the entertainment of a public condemns these animals to suffer all their lives. I decided to explain you the 6 good reasons not to visit marine parks.
6 Reasons why you should no longer visit Marine Parks
Wildlife in captivity
Just like the article I wrote on why you shouldn’t ride elephants, let’s start from the following premise: dolphins and orcas are wild animals. They are therefore caught more or less illegally to end up in a water park. In Japan, this ritual is called Taiji: thousands of dolphins are turned to the ribs and imprisoned. The most beautiful and young will end up in a water park, while the others will be massacred. As for killer whales, they are captured in the wild and dragged for thousands of kilometers until the exhaustion of the family that follows them.
In their natural environment, dolphins or killer whales live in the ocean and travel hundreds of kilometers a day. Once captured and imprisoned in their concrete pool, they must spend their lives evolving into a space of a few meters long and deep. They can only go around in circles and are deprived of all their natural behaviors. Jean-Michel Cousteau had compared these conditions of detention to a person who would be blindfolded.
It is also important to know that cetaceans are mammals that have a much more developed brain than other animals. With a fourth lobe, they can communicate with each other. However, captivity deprives them of all these primary instincts.
Terrible conditions of detention
As I said before, marine park’s animals are not made to live in a pool for the rest of their lives. Taking the example of Marineland, in the south of France, the largest basin is only 11 meters deep. Add to this that the water in the basins is chlorinated, which causes significant damage to the animals, especially their eyes. They are also exposed to the light and the different sounds of the crowd all day long.
In 2016, to protest against these despicable conditions of detention, the international NGO Sea Sheperd, which fights for the protection of marine creatures, created the Tilikum Tank in Cannes. The name is a tribute to the orca Tilikum who had turned into a killer because of an unlivable captivity. It was a truck covered with mirrors, with a constant echo and a full-scale show music, to reproduce what cetaceans feel in the basin. Pamela Anderson, who is a big defender of the animal cause, was able to inaugurate the Tilikum Tank and did not spend more than 3 minutes in this hell.
You call well imagine that dolphins or killer whales do not jump in the air for pure pleasure. These animals are raised with food. They know very well that if they do not obey the orders of their trainer, they will be deprived of food. And as they must ensure that the animal is hungry for the show, they don’t hesitate to starve it for the big day. Speaking of food, they are usually fed with dead fish, which would never happen in a natural environment.
Incest and artificial inseminations
If you thought we had toured the horror of marine parks, think again! If births are not commonplace in marine parks, because of the terrible conditions of detention and the dubious state of health of animals, this happens from time to time. For this, the dolphins and orcas are manually masturbated, then inseminate the female with the harvested semen. Nothing shocks you? The female is pregnant without sex beforehand which causes major psychological problems on the animal.
Because of captivity, these “activities” turn out to be mostly incestuous. Incest does not exist in the wild and this causes many miscarriages. After the birth of the baby, it is torn from his mother to be sold in another water park. Of course, the main goal of this whole process is the money that will be drawn from the sale …
The myth of species conservation
Many marine parks, such as Marineland Antibes, use the argument of species conservation to justify the detention of marine animals. Well done, except that dolphins or killer whales are absolutely not in danger of extinction in the wild. This is even more false when we know that these marine parks have no long-term vision of any release of these animals. The only escape is death!
The life expectancy of these captive animals must also be emphasized. An orca has an average life of 50 years for females and 30 years for males. In captivity this life expectancy is almost halved since it goes down to 29 years for females and 17 years for a male. Captivity kills animals: over the last fifty years, 2/3 of killer whaled died before they were 10 years old …
“Locking up those we love for life, disposing of them at will and against their will: is this the message we want to transmit to our children?”
Lamya Essemlali -President Sea Shepherd France
I would have liked to know all this before my visit to Marineland, even if I was less than 10 years old. It is clear that this is a juicy business where animals are only consumer goods which the human can have for his personal pleasure. Yes, because the ticket to Marineland, for example, costs more than 40€ and 80$ for SeaWorld in the USA … Here we are, next time, save a little more and go see dolphins, whales or other cetaceans in their natural environment. I promise you that the experience is much more magical!