Tag Archives | Whales

California Court To Rule Whether SeaWorld Whales Are Illegal ‘Slaves’

killerwhaletRegardless of the slim odds of a favorable ruling, it’s a groundbreaking case in its use of the Constitution to fight for intelligent animals’ freedom. Via PhysOrg:

A California federal court is to decide for the first time in US history whether amusement park animals are protected by the same constitutional rights as humans.

The issue arises from a lawsuit filed by rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a San Diego court on behalf of five orcas named Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka and Ulises. The whales perform water acrobatics at the SeaWorld amusement parks in San Diego and in Orlando, Florida.

PETA argues that continuing the whales’ “employment” at SeaWorld violates the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits slavery. District Judge Jeffrey Miller heard arguments in the complaint Monday and reviewed the response from SeaWorld, which asked that the lawsuit be dismissed. His ruling is expected to come later.

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Are Whales Slaves?

WhalesPETA is asking ... Hamilton Nolan reports on Gawker:
PETA has filed a lawsuit charging SeaWorld with violating the 13th Amendment by enslaving killer whales. This could be interesting. The scorn heaped upon this lawsuit in the court of public opinion will be roughly equal to the scorn once heaped upon the ideas of abolition and female suffrage. Somebody please have Jay Leno read some Peter Singer before he starts to discuss this news.
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Beyond The Valley Of The Whales

Whale skeleton at Wadi Al-Hitan. Photo:Volker Scherl

Whale skeleton at Wadi Al-Hitan. Photo:Volker Scherl

BBC News reports on an unlikely location for massive whale fossils: the Sahara desert in Egypt:

Its name in Arabic is Wadi Hitan but it is known as the Valley of the Whales.

For years archaeologists have been unearthing a remarkable collection of whale fossils, all the more surprising because the area is now inland desert in upper Egypt.

It is believed that about 40 million years ago the area was submerged in water, part of the Tethys Sea. As the sea retreated north to the Mediterranean it left a series of unique rock formations and also a cornucopia of fossils.

One of the most exceptional finds was a 37 million-year-old whale from the species Basilosaurus Isis, unearthed by a team led by Prof Philip Gingerich of the University of Michigan in the United States.

But now it has become the subject of a bizarre customs wrangle at Cairo airport.

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Toxins Found in Whales Bode Ill for Humans

WhalingArthur Max writes on the AP:

AGADIR, Morocco — Sperm whales feeding even in the most remote reaches of Earth’s oceans have built up stunningly high levels of toxic and heavy metals, according to American scientists who say the findings spell danger not only for marine life but for the millions of humans who depend on seafood.

A report released Thursday noted high levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium in tissue samples taken by dart gun from nearly 1,000 whales over five years. From polar areas to equatorial waters, the whales ingested pollutants that may have been produced by humans thousands of miles away, the researchers said.

“These contaminants, I think, are threatening the human food supply. They certainly are threatening the whales and the other animals that live in the ocean,” said biologist Roger Payne, founder and president of Ocean Alliance, the research and conservation group that produced the report.

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The Perils of Anthropomorphism

Mutterhals writes on the Black Sun Gazette:

That’s a big word up there, but it describes a fairly simple concept. Anthropomorphism is when you attribute human characteristics to non human things and people do it most frequently with animals.

There was a video floating around the internet recently claiming to show a dog smiling when its owner approached. In reality, as many savvy animal lovers pointed out, the dog’s posture indicated fear, as evidenced by its tense expression and down cast tail. Because dogs can’t smile; smiling is a function of certain muscles in the face that dogs simply don’t have.

I know, I’m an evil bitch for throwing a bucket of ice cold logic all over a coo-inspiring video. However, in light of the recent events at Sea World, where an experienced trainer was killed by a killer whale in between shows, it does seem that people fall into to this trap a bit too easily.

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American Family Association Calls For Stoning Of Whale

It sounds like a joke, yet isn’t; leading fundamentalist Christian organization American Family Association is calling for the stoning of a whale that killed a trainer at Orlando’s SeaWorld two weeks ago. From Huffington Post:

The American Family Association, a religious right group, is urging that Tillikum (Tilly), the killer whale that killed a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, be put down, preferably by stoning. Citing Tilly’s history of violent altercations, the group is slamming SeaWorld for not listening to Scripture in how to deal with the animal.

However, the group is going further and laying the blame for the trainer’s death directly at the feet of Chuck Thompson, the curator in charge of animal behavior. According to Scripture, if one of your animals kills a second time because you didn’t kill it after it claimed its first human victim, this time you die right along with your animal…”the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.”

Read More: Huffington Post

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