Imagine being taken from your family and kept in a small, windowless room — for the rest of your life. Why? So you could be put on display as 'entertainment', and even made to perform for food. This is a reflection of the sad experience of many animals kept captive in marine parks and aquariums around the world. Dolphins and seals made to perform unnatural 'tricks' ... Sharks forced to swim in endless circles in crowded tanks ... Baby orca calves separated from their distressed mothers and sold to other marine parks. Animals in marine parks never have the freedom to express the full range of their natural behaviours.
There are many tragic stories from marine parks of family-oriented animals like orcas and dolphins being separated and sent to different parks. The documentary Blackfish has exposed the suffering that mother orcas, who would usually spend their whole life with their calf, experience when separated from their babies.
Sadly, the strong desire to maintain a family unit is not the only thing taken away from animals in captivity. Orcas are highly active and can swim more than 100 kilometres a day in the wild. Yet at marine parks they will live their whole lives in small tanks. Not surprisingly, these animals can suffer stress, depression and other mental health issues as a result. SeaWorld in the US has even admitted to drugging their whales with anti-anxiety medication.
Thankfully there are no orcas in captivity in Australia but other marine animals at SeaWorld (in Australia) and other marine parks and aquariums are living in environments that can't offer them the full life they deserve. Dolphins, sharks, seals and other animals are all kept in tanks that limit their freedoms to explore, hunt, forage and socialise the way they would in the wild.
I pledge to help end the cruel confinement of marine animals by committing to never attend a park or aquarium that forces these animals to live in captivity.
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