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February 28, 2010 / theoldsilly

Dear Old Silly Sunday

Dear Old Silly-

I am beside myself with grief for the family that lost SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau recently when that nasty Killer Whale killed her. Me, I think the monster should be put to death. That was a human life it took, and it’s only an animal. Won’t make it right, or bring back that poor young woman’s life, but something should be done about this. It’s only the least bit fair that it be put down.

Am I right, Old Silly? What do you think?


Angry Enough to Kill


Dear Angry-

Before we go getting all enraged and kill the creature, let’s put ourselves in the animal’s position, hmm? Perhaps we can ascertain why such a tragedy would occur, and why PETA has long warned that not only would it eventually occur, it most likely will happen again. Ready for our little mental exercise? Okay. Picture this.

You are a magnificent, powerful, extremely intelligent creature, who is free to roam the vastness of the oceans. You have almost no predators, and you relish in the hunt, feeding on nature’s many offerings. You are proud and capable, a dominant warrior in your world.

Suddenly you are captured by the one earthly predator over which you have not enough awareness of, nor suspect its designs on you, to anticipate the attack, which is carried out with technologies foreign to your species and environment. You are carried away from your domain–your entire, immense, and glorious world, and placed in a little tank with glass walls. This new “home” of yours is barely enough size for you to get up to full speed, let alone exercise any sense of freedom and adventure. You are subjected to a daily regimen of being gawked at by popcorn eating children who point at you and say funny things and laugh, as well as your diurnal “training sessions” wherein you are taught how to jump through hoops and do back-flips. In return, you get thrown little fishies to eat. Gone is the hunt, the freedom, the friends and family, everything you knew about your life as a majestic creature is now reduced to a novelty act for these strange human being creatures to chuckle at, marvel over, and applaud as you perform silly tricks for them.

Would you be angry?

I would. And while I do grieve for the young lady who lost her life, and her family, and pray for their healing and her safe passage to the next plane of existence, I cannot fault the animal for snapping in its obvious mental rage and anguished soul, nor would I endorse the killing of it. Rather I would like to see it returned to the ocean, with a monitoring device attached to it, so we could ensure its ability to re-acclimate itself to the wild again. ‘Tis the least we can do, after having enslaved it for our casual enjoyment. Animal parks, zoos, and water parks like SeaWorld, are a testament to our species’ absolute arrogance at and over God’s creation.

You asked what I thought, and that is what I think about that.

Very Sincerely,

The Old Silly


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  1. yvonne lewis / Feb 28 2010 8:03 am

    I also pray got the family of the person who lost her life, what an absolutely dreadful thing to happen,
    But there are two sides here animals such as whales etc should not (I think ) be kept in capitivity.
    It’s their nature to be in the open seas and oceans.
    It’s like putting a human being prison for a crime he/she has not committed.

    It’s a tricky situation this there are no rights or wrongs.


  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh / Feb 28 2010 8:04 am

    Even if he wasn’t angry, he probably had no idea he was hurting his trainer. As you said, he’s large, and we are but small, fragile creatures.

  3. Stanley Berber / Feb 28 2010 8:25 am

    I also agree with Alex. The whale could have been just playing with her. It’s an unnatural situation, and I also agree with you, Marv, one that we probably shouldn’t be messing around with in our arrogance. Pray for the young lady who lost her life taking what she knew was a major risk.

  4. Ron Berry / Feb 28 2010 8:35 am

    I disagree about releasing him. If he could be reaclimated to the wild, then yes, release him. But after being in captivity for so long, will he adapt? It wasn’t the whales fault, but ours for using animals for human exhibition.

    I approve of natural surrounding zoos as a way of preserving some creatures, but some, like the whale in question, belongs in the wild.

  5. Cactus Annie / Feb 28 2010 8:37 am

    While I have often gone to and enjoyed seeing wild animals in zoos, I also had a sad feeling for them every time. It’s not right, not fair to them. Such a tragedy, this young woman losing her life. Whether the whale snapped in anger or was just playing around, it is the result of an unfair and, yes, I agree, arrogant act against nature on the part of human beings to captivate wild animals for our cozy, comfortable, casual enjoyment.

  6. Mason Canyon / Feb 28 2010 9:10 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the trainer. I don’t think the whale should be destroyed, but I don’t think it needs to be put back on display to perform for people. If it has to be in captivity then let people just see it, don’t make it perform.

  7. tashabud / Feb 28 2010 9:47 am

    So tragic, I must say. My thoughts and prayers go to the young woman’s family. I hope that her family would be consoled knowing that she, at least, died doing what she enjoyed doing. Very few who’ve died could say that about their own deaths, if given a chance to come back to earth to say them. I’m sure she knew the dangers of working with killer whales, especially a whale with a history. May God bless her soul.

    I totally agree with you that the whale needs to be freed. I’d be like a charging mad bull if I were to be unfairly or unjustly caged or imprisoned, too.

    Another great post, Old Silly.


  8. Joyce Anthony / Feb 28 2010 1:33 pm

    From what I have heard, the whale was only playing–it has to be awfully boring having only this strange two-legged creature for company–oh, and the thousands who just stare at you. Whales are itelligent beings, but they can’t understand that humans aren’t able to stay under water as long as they do. I am willing to bet that if this young lady could, she would tell us she understands what happened.

    I feel for her family–they lost someone special to them. She loved what she did, knew the risks–and thought they were worth it. It is the family that remains that may not understand and my heartfelt prayers are with them.

    That said, my prayers are also with this wonderful creation of God’s that was never intended to be held captive in such an environment. God gave the whales oceans to roam for a reason. It is not in our plaace to do to any living spirit what we ourselves would not have done to us–and I sure wouldn’t want to be taken from my home and family and be put on display and made to perform. This wondrous creature lost the only semblance of family he has — He can’t understand where she is, why she’s gone–and why everyone else is treating him as they are.

    I don’t know if this particular whale was born in captivity or not. If so, releasing him into the ocean now is sending him to a sure death. Regardless of the decision, man has once again created havoc in the wonderful world he has been given 😦

    (Marvin, sorry to get on the soapbox on your blog–but animal rights are one of my passion points.)

    • theoldsilly / Feb 28 2010 2:25 pm

      Joyce, you soapbox ANY ol’ time here on Free Spirit, lol. 😉 Great comment and thoughts on this, thanks!

      • Joyce Anthony / Feb 28 2010 5:31 pm

        Thanks–you do tend to make posts lately that get me on a roll!!

  9. L. Diane Wolfe / Feb 28 2010 2:49 pm

    I don’t think animals should perform. Yes, I’ve been to Sea World and seen the animals perform, but I’ve enjoyed the exhibits where I just get to look at the animals, too. For some animals, it may be the species only hope for survival and for some humans, their only chance to see that animal in real life.

    One thing I’ve never understood. Aquariums tend to have these really natural tanks, with plants and fish and stuff, for their sharks. Why are whales and dolphins not given similar tanks? Why is it always just a big swimming pool? No wonder they get bored.

    And can’t kill the whale. It wasn’t his fault.

  10. C Carter Martina / Feb 28 2010 4:25 pm

    The fact that this woman lost her life is tragic. Should we blame the whale? Never. We as humans need to learn to respect the other species on this earth. And as tragic as this accident (yes accident) was the whale was onlt acting on it’s natural instincts and not attaching her. This was the one and only time she decided to wear her hair in a loose ponytail and let it swish in front of him. She did not deserve to die for this mistake but it was her mistake not the whales. My heart goes out to her family.

    My disdain goes out ot he media and those who exploit.

  11. Leeuna / Feb 28 2010 4:52 pm

    Well said, Old Silly. I agree whole-heartedly with you. It was a terrible tragedy but I don’t think the whale was responsible. They call it “wildlife” for a reason.

  12. Terri Dryden / Feb 28 2010 5:07 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with the trainers family also but come on people, it i a KILLER WHALE. The trainers know what they are dealing with when they decide to work with these animals. The animal is curious animal. When hair floats around in the water, it looks like something the whale may want to play with. It is a Killer Whale. They will never be domestic animals. You don’t want to turn your back on a lion, tiger or bear either!

  13. 5kidswdisabilities / Feb 28 2010 7:19 pm

    It is perfectly understandable. What is determined to be a well cared for animal life by humans may not be seen that way by the whale. He did not do anything out of character or in a “killer” mood…poor thing. (Of course, the poor trainer who died, also, but it WAS an accident waiting to happen.)

  14. quirkyloon / Feb 28 2010 8:23 pm

    I guess this means you won’t be having any free giveaways to Sea World anytime soon, eh?



    I don’t believe the animal should be euthanized, I don’t know about releasing it back into the sea. Depends on the circumstances that your other commenters have already brought up. Was the whale born in captivity, how long has it been in captivity. Wouldn’t want to release the whale only to flounder!

    • theoldsilly / Feb 28 2010 10:45 pm

      Yes, and that I don’t know, Quirks – if the animal was raised in captivity then it’s a different sitch, hmm?

  15. ReformingGeek / Feb 28 2010 9:20 pm

    It is very sad that a trainer is dead. Working with wild animals in captivity will always be a dangerous job.

    We choose to put animals in captivity. It’s a two-edged sword. Having animals in captivity allows us the opportunity to learn about the animals but this opportunity doesn’t come to us without consequences.

    I don’t think it’s right to punish the animal.

  16. AmyLK / Mar 2 2010 10:59 am

    I agree that the whale should be released. We have no right to keep him caged up. he is a magnificent creature who was made to roam the oceans of the world. Not a little 20 gallon tank. I feel for the family of the trainer but she was well aware of the dangers of working with the whales. I hope they can find solace and peace.

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