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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  08:53:09  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So something called a "Killer whale" killed someone, HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN!

Sorry that's all, stupid people have been bugging me.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini

Edited by - BigPapaSmurf on 02/25/2010 08:53:44

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  09:23:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
An orca is a highly intelligent, very powerful carnivore; one that I feel should never be turned into a sideshow. But it has been, so there are some very hard & fast rules to follow when dealing with something like this, and evidently they were not followed. For example, if I've read the story properly, the lady was on a surface that was conductive to slipping. And she slipped. And the orca was having a bad blubber day, or something, and that's all she wrote.

Associating yourself with dangerous animals is risky, even for the knowledgeable and highly skilled. This incident was predictable, as seen in the rather casual way these animals are commonly handled. If the shows continue as they are, sooner or later, it will happen again.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  11:43:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My reaction has been much the same. You physically handle an animal capable of harming you and eventually you are going to be harmed. From what I understand the whale grabbed her and pulled her underwater (there have been conflicting reports, one says it took her in it's mouth and thrashed).

These are big animals in captivity. They are capable of killing you even if they aren't intending to harm you. So I fail to understand all the shock and confusion. It's a killer whale, a seven ton predatory animal, and you are in the water with it.... don't be shocked when you are turned into whale poop.

It's like the whole Steve Irwin thing, tragic but not even remotely shocking.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
Edited by - Dude on 02/25/2010 11:43:58
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Bob Lloyd
Skeptic Friend

Spain
59 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  11:52:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Bob Lloyd's Homepage Send Bob Lloyd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's a peculiar feature of people who use animals in shows that they think the animals like it. You've often heard people say that dogs like to learn tricks, horses like to learn fancy stepping, dolphins like to jump up to hoops, etc. It's as if the human needs to rationalise the tormenting treatment they dish out in training the animals.

It's easy to imagine that the animals are really simply pursuing the line of least hassle, avoiding the torment by taking part in the ritual. Given that dolphins and whales are intelligent animals, developing such a strategy seems entirely plausible. The handlers could well be deluding themselves into thinking the animals enjoy the treatment they are getting and that in fact, picking off the odd trainer is just an opportunistic way of the animal making a point, given the fact that humans are too dumb to understand the animal language :)

Once it's possible to scan the brains of these animals in vivo during some of the activities, we might be able to locate the areas of the brain which are stimulated by such activities and possibly see evidence of cruelty. It probably won't stop the shows since they're highly profitable, but it might reduce the crowds a little.
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  13:33:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?
(Answer, they are big, strong, smart, predatory, basically wild animals. Duh!)
If the shows continue as they are, sooner or later, it will happen again.
Beyond a doubt!
the animals are really simply pursuing the line of least hassle, avoiding the torment by taking part in the ritual. Given that dolphins and whales are intelligent animals, developing such a strategy seems entirely plausible.
Not only plausible, highly likely!
in fact, picking off the odd trainer is just an opportunistic way of the animal making a point, given the fact that humans are too dumb to understand the animal language
Seems highly likely especially with one of the arguably smartest species of animal!


Given that all of the above is true, and that the Orca incident is only a snapshot of the entire animal use/abuse issue, the questions remain; Should something be done about these incidents other than destroying the animal (which is almost inevitable, now)? and; If something should be done, what?

Should animal shows be eliminated?

Should Zoos be phased out and eliminated?

Should animal hunting strictly as a sport (Allow hunting only to control overpopulation) be banned?

And from here, one has to get into the abuse of animals used as a primary food supply, the practicality of veganism, abuse of animals used in laboratory experimentation, and many other spin-off topics that may be quite important in analyzing human ethics but need to be examined separately.

Right now, I would like to pose this basic question:
Are trained animal shows (including the use/abuse, of animals for entertainment and exhibition) ethically acceptable human activity?

Any ideas? Anyone?
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  14:47:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
bng said:
Right now, I would like to pose this basic question:
Are trained animal shows (including the use/abuse, of animals for entertainment and exhibition) ethically acceptable human activity?


Minus the "abuse" part, and yes. Just don't act as if it is unexpected or somehow shocking when a predator practices predation on you or when a large animal injures/kills somebody. (hell, even large grazing animals are dangerous, ask a farmer...or a bullfighter...)

As for your abuse clause, you will have to specifically define what constitutes abuse for captive animals. PETA would say that any animal in human control is being abused, pets, zoos, and so on. There are opinions on the opposite end of the spectrum too. I would say that as long as the animal is well fed, has an appropriate living environment, and is not physically injured then all is well.

I hope they don't kill that whale personally. It is a wild animal in captivity and shouldn't be destroyed because it behaved like a wild animal. Not like we are going to teach those other orcas a lesson... Just take it out of the show, retire it.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  14:48:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As you know, but maybe others don't, they're not called killer whales because they kill humans, but because they kill other whales.

They are large, and anything can happen, though. Probably a safer job than being an electrician.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  15:14:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Bob Lloyd

It's a peculiar feature of people who use animals in shows that they think the animals like it.
How do you know the animals don't like it?

You've often heard people say that dogs like to learn tricks, horses like to learn fancy stepping, dolphins like to jump up to hoops, etc.
What the trainer usually means is that certain animals, usually intelligent ones, need a degree of mental stimulation in order to remain healthy and "happy." Animals which are depressed, bored, agitated or otherwise malcontent can and do signal their unhappiness through the engagement of self-destructive behaviors, such as excessive grooming or pacing. It is not impossible to distinguish between a well-adjusted or "happy" animal and one which is stressed.

It's as if the human needs to rationalise the tormenting treatment they dish out in training the animals. It's easy to imagine that the animals are really simply pursuing the line of least hassle, avoiding the torment by taking part in the ritual.
How do you know the animals perceive doing tricks--usually physical stunts very similar to behavior they would engage in in the wild anyway--as a torment? You'd do best to establish that claim before waxing on about why animal trainers might rationalize it away. And lots of things are "easy to imagine." Whether or not they are in evidence is another story.

Given that dolphins and whales are intelligent animals, developing such a strategy seems entirely plausible.
Dolphins and whales are (comparatively) intelligent animals, yes. However, the suggestion that they are capable of reasoning through their situation to the degree to which you are suggesting would appear unreasonable.

The handlers could well be deluding themselves into thinking the animals enjoy the treatment they are getting and that in fact, picking off the odd trainer is just an opportunistic way of the animal making a point, given the fact that humans are too dumb to understand the animal language :)
As I said, animals primarily communicate through behaviors and non-verbal clues, not "language." Trainers which spend a good portion of their time handling and being around animals usually have a very good sense of the animals' moods and temperaments and are quite sensitive to any irregularities. However, a degree of risk is assumed whenever dealing with a creature capable of inflicting mortal injury.

Once it's possible to scan the brains of these animals in vivo during some of the activities, we might be able to locate the areas of the brain which are stimulated by such activities and possibly see evidence of cruelty. It probably won't stop the shows since they're highly profitable, but it might reduce the crowds a little.
Why even bother with the scans if you're so certain that not only would they prove animals perceive training exercises as cruelty, but also that this proof would be ignored?


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 02/25/2010 15:20:03
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  17:44:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bob,

I'm going to agree, mostly, with H.H. here regarding your post. I've had pets for my entire life and once you become familiar with an animal (at risk of anthropomorphizing here, I am aware) you can detect certain emotions they express. When you come home from work and your dog gets excited, it's seems obvious that your dog is happy to see you. When you scold them for getting in the trash the anxiety and pouting are equally apparent. I'm not saying that they have the same motivations for their apparent emotions as humans, just that any dog owner will tell you that their emotions are detectable. You know when your dog is happy and when it isn't.

I suspect that the same holds true for handlers of other intelligent animals. I also doubt that most animal trainers who detected stress or anxiety in one of the animals they work with would be willing to force it to do something it didn't want to do. (I don't doubt there are some out there who would be cruel to an animal, but not at a large commercial enterprise like sea world) In the specific case of an Orca, I fail to see how you could force it.... if it felt stressed or threatened it is just going to consume you.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Randy
SFN Regular

USA
1988 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  18:00:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Randy a Private Message  Reply with Quote

From CNN.

"Tilikum has been linked to two other deaths. He and two other whales were involved in the drowning of a trainer at a Victoria, British Columbia, marine park in 1991. The trainer fell into the whale tank at the Sea Land Marine Park Victoria and was dragged underwater as park visitors watched.

In 1999, Tilikum was blamed for the death of a 27-year-old man whose body was found floating in a tank at SeaWorld, the apparent victim of a whale's "horseplay," authorities said then.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said the man apparently hid in the park until after it closed, then climbed into the tank."

"We are all connected; to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically."

"So you're made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?"
-Neil DeGrasse Tyson
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  18:09:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
About ten years ago I spent a good hour kayaking with three orcas. I saw them hunting for stingrays and, more importantly, they swam just under my kayak on numerous occasions, tilting their bodies so that they could look up at me. This was obviously extremely exciting (and a bit scary). I knew that orca attacks on humans were exceedingly rare, but just like any encounter with a wild animal, there is always the potential for something to go wrong. What I'm getting is that.. well, I'm just bragging, really.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  18:41:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dude
I also doubt that most animal trainers who detected stress or anxiety in one of the animals they work with would be willing to force it to do something it didn't want to do.
Indeed, most trainers will tell you that they can't force an animal perform if it doesn't want to. That's why they have backups. If one dolphin doesn't feel like performing on a particular day, they choose another that's feeling more frisky. But they can't make a dolphin jump through a hoop if it just doesn't want to.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 02/25/2010 18:43:49
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25970 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  19:30:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
GrrlScientist says that the whale's size protected it from being euthanized for its previous indiscretions. She's got videos to prove it.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  19:54:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Randy


From CNN.

"Tilikum has been linked to two other deaths. He and two other whales were involved in the drowning of a trainer at a Victoria, British Columbia, marine park in 1991. The trainer fell into the whale tank at the Sea Land Marine Park Victoria and was dragged underwater as park visitors watched.

In 1999, Tilikum was blamed for the death of a 27-year-old man whose body was found floating in a tank at SeaWorld, the apparent victim of a whale's "horseplay," authorities said then.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said the man apparently hid in the park until after it closed, then climbed into the tank."



So it's a Serial Killer Whale.

The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  21:11:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

GrrlScientist says that the whale's size protected it from being euthanized for its previous indiscretions. She's got videos to prove it.
I can see euthanizing a wild animal that acquires a taste for human flesh and continues to attack civilians. But to me this is a lot different, more like the Siegfried & Roy tiger attack. The animal was not euthanized in that case either, although unlike the whale the tiger wasn't a repeat offender (so far as I know).

But anyway, if they had to do anything, couldn't the whale's owners just fly the whale to the middle of the Pacific and dump it back into the ocean?


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  23:56:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't think there's any significant intentional cruelty to trained killer whales. But that hardly removes the actual cruelty to huge, fast-moving, almost globe-straddling cetaceans that find themselves confined in tiny pools of water.

All these animals must be either near or fully stir-crazy. I believe that if good-sized ocean areas can't be blocked off for the containment of these orcas (and such an arrangement is probably impossible and almost certainly environmentally destructive), then all killer whales (and probably dolphins) which are kept captive almost purely for the entertainment of humans should be released. Dangerous individuals such as Tilikum should probably be retained as "lifers" in pens with special care taken for their keepers.

Keeping these creatures penned is both cruel to them and dangerous to their trainers. One doesn't need to be a PeTA member to see that.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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