Should whales be held in captivity? | The Tylt

Should whales be held in captivity?

In June of 2019, Canada's House of Commons passed a bill that would make it illegal to hold whales in captivity. Animal activists have long argued that the United States should implement a similar policy, saying it is inhumane to hold sea mammals in tanks. Others argue that some of these facilities—SeaWorld included—help rescue and rehabilitate whales and other sea creatures, and they should not be shut down as a result. What do you think? 

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Canada's "Free Willy" bill is now expected to become law, making it illegal to hold any "whale, dolphin or porpoise captive, punishable by fines up to $150,000 USD," per CNN. Many people in Canada and the U.S. celebrated the decision, saying it demonstrates much-needed progress:

The Green Party of Canada celebrated in a statement Monday. "These intelligent, social mammals will now get to live where they belong -- in the ocean," the party said.

Many would like to see America follow suit. Calls for SeaWorld to be shut down have been ringing since the debut of the controversial documentary "Blackfish" in 2013. The film followed Tilikum, one of the world's most well-known orcas, who was implicated in multiple deaths at the SeaWorld amusement park before dying of "persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection."

Animal rights activists say holding these large animals in captivity is not only cruel, but it negatively impacts creatures' social skills. 

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But Canada's "Free Willy" bill is not all-encompassing. According to CNN's Andrea Diaz and Ben Westcott:

The bill makes exceptions if the animals are rescues, in rehabilitation or licensed for scientific research, or when it's in the animal's best interests.

It is essential to not lose sight of the fact that there are certain instances where captivity is what is best for the animal. According to AwesomeOcean.com, not only do facilities like SeaWorld raise money for conservation efforts, but: 

Attacks on SeaWorld ignore the fundamental fact that the structure of SeaWorld parks is integrated with the rescue and rehabilitation program, and that level of funding and infrastructure is only possible under the greater system of the company...Basically: close the parks, stop the rescues. 

Mother Jones reports that according to SeaWorld, holding some orcas in captivity is essential for scientific research, which Canada's new bill seems to echo:

“We create a controlled setting for science that is impossible to replicate in the wild,” [SeaWorld's] website states. “Whales in SeaWorld’s care help science better understand and conserve wild killer whales.”

Holding whales in captivity is not as black and white as much of the public makes it out to be. 

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should whales be held in captivity?
A festive crown for the winner
#FreeAllWhales
#CaptivityCanHelp