Activists to Orca Enslavers: Thanks, but No Tanks

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June 25, 2013 By 

Confining the planet’s second smartest mammal to aquarium tanks is cruel and unusual punishment.

July is shaping up to be a tough month for the captive marine mammal industry. My book, Death at SeaWorld, Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity, comes out in paperback in one week, on July 2, followed by the release of the critically acclaimed documentaryBlackfish, which opens July 17. The double-punch against orca captivity has been duly noted by major media around the world, including an upcoming feature article in Business Week.

Then, on July 27, comes a global day of protest against marine mammal facilities, taking place in at least 21 locations around the worldEmpty the Tanks Worldwide is billed by the group’s Facebook page as “a day for everyone around the world to stand up against marine mammal captivity. The abuse and exploitation of these sentient beings has no place in the 21st century.” 

Recently, I caught up with Empty the Tanks organizer Rachel Greenhalgh from her home near Seattle, not far from the San Juan Islands, Washington—one of the world’s premier places to see orcas in their natural habitat: the vast and open sea.

TakePart: How did you come up with this idea?

Rachel Greenhalgh: I was in Taiji, Japan, as a Cove Guardian in January of this year. On one of my last days there I was thinking that I wanted to find a way to be productive and proactive in this fight against the captivity industry after I returned home. That’s when and where this whole idea began. The captive animals floating listlessly in their tiny sea pens in Taiji are a sight that cuts you to your core. I wanted to come home and continue fighting for them.

How did you get the word out?

I began messaging other activists around the world, asking if they would become event coordinators. It took time but I eventually found passionate and dedicated individuals to help carry out this important event with me. Once I had about a half dozen participating locations, I began getting messages from people all over the world who wanted to host their own Empty the Tanks event. Facebook has created amazing connection opportunities for activists like myself.

How many people in how many cities are now signed up to take part?

We have 21 locations in nine countries participating in the Empty the Tanks event. I am expecting a few hundred people to participate in these events around the world. Those numbers will hopefully grow each year that this annual event continues.

What is the most unexpected place where a protest is taking part?

I don’t know that there is an unexpected place. I think it is amazing we have 21 locations in nine counties. The two events taking place in Japan are very meaningful to me simply because of the time I spent in Taiji, Japan. I think it is incredible to see such commitment in the Japanese activists.

Do you want to retire marine mammals over time, or close down marine parks altogether?

Ideally, I would want these parks to close down. I do not feel marine mammal entertainment parks have any place in the 21st century. We know the level of awareness these animals have. We know their social connections, their eating habits, and natural wild behaviours. You cannot breed natural instincts out of an animal in a handful of generations. These are incredibly social, intelligent beings that are being used to make money. It is animal slavery, and it needs to be brought to the general public’s attention.

Empty the Tanks is not a radical movement requesting the release of all the captive whales and dolphins. Some of these animals might be great candidates for release, but those that are not should be retired into sea pens, where they can enjoy the rest of their days in natural seawater, feeling the waves of the ocean around them. They should not be worked until their last breath is taken and then thrown out like trash and replaced.

Why Is SeaWorld Allowing Its Killer Whales to Live in Crumbling Pools?

What do you expect to happen outside these facilities and how will guests get the message?

These events are about getting a message to the general public. We are trying to reach those going to the ticket counter. We are not the ones buying the tickets and keeping these parks in business, and we need to reach the public and get them to understand what they are supporting. We have some great informational postcards that will be handed out to anyone willing to take one as well as some powerful banners with images that speak for themselves.

Have you received any response from the captive display industry?

I have not heard from anyone in the captivity industry so far. I have been banned from most of the marine parks’ Facebook pages so I haven’t been able to post event information on them. (Someone claiming to be a SeaWorld educator, and another person says she used to work at the company, have posted comments the EET Facebook page.)

Where can people get more information?

If someone would like to host an event on July 27, or get more information, please send me an email to Rachel@emptythetanksworldwide.com. They can also contact me via thewebsite.

What do you think will come of this and what can concerned citizens do next when it’s over?

I think we will reach new people who were unaware of this issue. Even if we only get one family to turn away from that planned day at the park, well that is one more family on our side of this fight. Every person matters and eventually we will win this fight. We will see an end to marine mammal exploitation and to places like SeaWorld. We have already seen other countries ban shows using dolphins, so it is only a matter of time before the whole world catches on. I will not stop until we do. The best thing concerned citizens can do is continue to spread the truth about the captivity industry. Never stop talking about this issue until we empty the tanks worldwide.

TAKE THE PLEDGE:- Don’t Buy The Ticket! Whales & Dolphins Shouldn’t Be in Captivity:- Please click link to sign :- http://www.takepart.com/actions/dont-buy-ticket-whale-show?cmpid=tp-ptnr-tab-d84909c52edcceb20c7bba62052b1b01

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Iles-de-la-Madeleine harp seals spared after worldwide outcry

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One of two seals at the Aquarium des Iles who were set to be killed because they could not be released into the wild. They have been given a reprieve, but petitioners will need to raise $73,000 by next week.

The fate of two harp seals at an aquarium in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine has raised an international outcry, with more than 124,000 people from around the world signing an 11th hour petition to save them.

Originally slated to be killed Saturday, the strength of the opposition has led the Aquarium to spare six-month-old pups Zak and Mika – for now.

But it is still not clear who will take care of the seals, and at whose expense.

Every spring for the last 25 years, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans catches two whitecoat harp seals to put on display at the aquarium in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, to be released back into the wild when the aquarium closes in the fall.

But with new directives from the DFO this year barring their release because of concerns they may transmit disease to wild populations of seals and other animals, the aquarium planned to kill the two seals Saturday as it closed its doors for the fall and winter.

One of the workers at the aquarium alerted a wildlife rehabilitation centre on Saltspring Island, B.C., however, and the petition was born, drawing thousands of signatures a day for the past week.

In response, the Aquarium des Iles issued a statement Friday suggesting it could send the animals to Oceanopolis, a facility in Brest, Franceif those who signed the petition come up with the $73,000 needed to care for them in the meantime, by Sept. 21.

Wildlife organizations were not impressed.

“It feels a little like they’re taking the seals hostage – like a ransom note: “Now that you’re upset, give us some money or we’ll kill them,” said Michelle Cliffe, a spokesperson for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which is helping to organize the effort. “We think it’s the responsibility of an aquarium to have a plan and the finances to care for animals prior to taking on those animals.”

Cliffe said the sheer number of people that have signed on, from as far away as Russia and Greece and across the U.S., show that people do care about the animals, and so should the aquarium.

“The mandate of the aquarium is to educate the public about these animals, and create a bond with them,” Cliffe said. “It seems very strange and very sad that they would then destroy the very animals they are trying to educate people about – what is the message and what is the learning there?”

Aquarium directors could not be reached for comment yesterday. But a caretaker said it’s been “hell” for the last three days, as the fate of the seals is all anyone is talking about.

Cliffe said her organization is in contact with the DFO and is looking into whether there is a way to mitigate the medical risks of releasing the seals to the wild — the best, and cheapest solution.

Barring that the IFAW is also examining the conditions in which the seals would be cared for, both en route and at Oceanopolis. In terms of minimizing suffering, euthanasia may be preferable to putting the seals in a cage on an airplane for eight hours, she said.

But the situation raises bigger questions about why the DFO is capturing marine mammals to begin with — at taxpayers’ expense — and about the lack of legislation protecting marine mammals both in the wild and in captivity.

Based on the testimony of three workers at Marineland, the Toronto Star has published a series of stories highlighting the poor living conditions at that aquarium in Niagara Falls, and more than 76,000 people have now signed a petition calling on Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to enact laws and regulations to protect animals in zoos and aquaria.

The DFO stopped the capture of whales for the benefit of aquaria following recommendations made in 1999, Cliffe said. It should now stop capturing all marine mammals

News Link:-: http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Iles+Madeleine+harp+seals+spared+after+worldwide+outcry/7248949/story.html#ixzz26aJwwsLJ

Do Whales Eat Fish? – Interesting Educational Video

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“Just found this Brilliant new video about whales & fish, which puts things into perspective”.  It’s very educational, so a good one for older kids to watch, after all, they are the next generation of fishermen & the other’s (who hopefully in the future won’t be able to kill anymore whales under the guise of experiments etc.!” 

 

Published on 3 May 2012 by 

This video explains the facts behind the common myth that whales deplete fish stocks.

Thousands of dolphins may have died in Peru’s massive die-off; cause could remain mystery

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LIMA, Peru — When a retired fisherman called to report that about 1,500dolphins had washed up dead on Peru’s northern coast, veterinarian Carlos Yaipén’s first reaction was, “That’s impossible.”

But when Yaipén traveled up the coast last week, he counted 615 deaddolphins along a 135-kilometer stretch of coastline.

Now, the death toll could be as high as 2,800, based on volunteers’ counts. Peru’s massive dolphin die-off is among the largest ever reported worldwide.

The strandings, which began in January, are a marine mystery that may never be unraveled. Experts say the causes could be acoustic impact from testing for oil or perhaps an unknown virus or other pathogen. Little marine research takes place in Peru, and even in the United States, of 55 marine mammal strandings since 1991, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has classified 29 as “undetermined.”

All of the 20 or so animals Yaipén has examined showed middle-ear hemorrhage and fracture of the ear’s periotic bone, lung lesions and bubbles in the blood. To him, that suggests that a major acoustic impact caused injury, but not immediate death. Most of the dolphins apparently were alive when they beached, or had died very recently.

“The animal would become disoriented, would have intense pain, and would have to make a great effort to breathe,” he said of the injuries.

Other experts say there is not enough evidence to draw a conclusion

Veterinarian Carlos Yaipén examines a dead dolphin calf.

Stress or toxic contaminants can make marine mammals more vulnerable to pathogens such as viruses, according to Peter Ross, a research scientist at Canada’s Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, British Columbia.

In a mass die-off, “there might be a smoking gun, but often we find that it’s two or three or four factors,” said Ross, who is one of the world’s leading experts on the effects of toxic contaminants in marine mammals.

Persistent organic pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, the pesticide DDT, dioxins and flame-retardants accumulate in fish, and the concentrations are magnified as they move up the food web to top predators such as dolphins, seals and sea lions.

Laboratory studies of rodents and cells harvested from marine mammals show that PCBs and dioxins “are very immunotoxic,” Ross said. “The immune system is exquisitely sensitive to exposure to environmental contaminants.”

Animals with weaker immune systems could be more vulnerable to stress from noise or climate change, or to diseases such as leptospirosis, brucellosis or distemper, Ross said.

Click here to read more:- Environmental Health News

Say No to Destructive Drilling in the Arctic

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“Video by my dear friend & animal warrior; Louise Du Toit”

“Let us all OPPOSE ARCTIC DRILLING and any other destructive actions towards our beautiful planet and all wildlife.” – Louise du Toit”

This summer, exploratory drilling will begin in the Arctic Ocean unless we stop it.

The Arctic must be off limits to oil drilling, for the simple reason that a spill would be impossible to clean up there. The Arctic is home to polar bears, walrus, bowhead whales and other endangered and highly sensitive wildlife; oil drilling in its remote, ice-choked waters would carry unacceptably high risks of environmental destruction and loss of life.

President Obama has given approval to Shell to drill for oil this summer in the vulnerable Arctic. In hopes of uncovering new sources of dirty fossil fuelsArctic drilling could also unleash more than 11 billion tons of carbon pollution — making it ever more difficult to stave off devastating climate change.

We have a powerful opportunity now to stop drilling before it spoils the Arctic and its wildlife. Take action now to tell Obama not to allow drilling to go ahead in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

Read more here:- Center for Biological Diversity

Read this document about the impact drilling:-Arctic Ocean Drilling: Risking Oil Spills, Human Life, and Wildlife

Click to sign petition here:- Say No to Destructive Drilling in the Arctic.

Click here to sign:- Petition to Ban Arctic Oil Drilling

Click here to sign:- Tell Cruise Ships to Stop Spewing Filth Into Our Pristine Oceans

Click here to sign:- PETA – Sign Pamela Anderson’s Petition to Help End the Seal Slaughter

Click here to sign:-Stop the Next Offshore Oil Disaster

Click here to sign:- Tell Congress to end the big oil bailout – USA

Minnesota Zoo – Dolphin calf dies

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http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2012/02/07/minnesota-zoo-mourns-loss-of-dolphin-calf/

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — A 1-year-old baby dolphin passed away at the Minnesota Zoo Monday night after a sudden and acute illness, according to officials.

Watch Video here Dolphin Calf dies

The Minnesota Zoo’s marine mammal staff and veterinarians were working around the clock to try and save Taijah, a female dolphin calf born in 2010. Taijah began showing symptoms early Monday and an ultrasound showed she had fluid in her stomach. She was put on medication and seemed to be stable until late Monday night.

Taijah was the calf of 24-year-old Allie, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin who has been at the zoo since 2008, and Semo, a 48-year-old dolphin that’s currently the oldest under human care.

An animal autopsy will be performed Tuesday to determine Taijah’s cause of death.


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