​​Stop Imprisoning Depressed Whales

Target: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Goal: Prohibit the future capture and breeding of particular cetaceans into captivity.

Whales–specifically orcas, beluga whales, pilot whales, and false killer whales–do not fare well in captive settings. These mammals are highly social, emotionally complex beings who typically live in tight-knit, family units. In the wild, whales and dolphins form life-long bonds with both kin and non-kin, mirroring the intricacy of social relationships as developed between humans.

In captivity, these animals are isolated from others of their species and denied their natural social inclinations. They are not given the opportunity to communicate with others, or partake in coordinated hunts, and are severely deprived of the stimulation that these cognitively advanced individuals so desperately need. Whales require more space than captive enclosures could ever provide, sometimes covering 100 miles in just one day. In essence, captivity fails to provide these intelligent cetaceans with their basic social, physical, and psychological needs.

Currently, there are over 50 of these mammals held in captivity throughout the U.S. Many show signs of extreme distress, engaging in odd behaviors not natural to them in the wild, such as floating motionlessly in their pools for minutes or hours or smashing their heads against the sides of their cages. In fact, many of these animals are treated with ulcer medications and anti-depressants in an attempt to counter the severe psychological trauma they experience. Whales in captivity typically live far shorter lives than those in the wild.

On July 26, 2022, a new bill was introduced to the House to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act and aid in further protection of these whales. The Strengthening Welfare in Marine Settings (SWIMS) Act, if enacted, would end future capture, breeding, import and export of whales for public display. While whales currently housed at marine parks and aquariums wouldn’t be released under this act, it would force these facilities to transition towards a more humane future.

Whales are not here for our amusement. Sign this petition to encourage legislators to endorse this bill.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Representative Pelosi,

SeaWorld and other marine parks housing cetaceans have been under fire for years due to their apparent inability to provide these intelligent animals with their basic social, physical, and psychological needs. In the wild, whales and dolphins form lifelong social bonds and live in tightly-knit groups of kin and non-kin. They participate in cognitively stimulating activities within these groups, such as coordinated hunting and communication. However, in captivity, these emotionally complex animals are isolated from their species, forced to live among and interact with humans instead. While whales in the wild might swim upwards of 100 miles per day, in captive settings, whales live in pools that are the equivalent of a bathtub.

These highly intelligent beings show signs of extreme distress and, in captivity, lead way shorter lives than their relatives in the wild. Captive whales and other cetaceans have been witnessed displaying behaviors not natural to their wild counterparts, including floating motionlessly in their pools for up to hours–in an apparent sign of stress or boredom–and smashing their heads against the sides of their tanks.

The Strengthening Welfare in Marine Settings (SWIMS) Act, introduced on July 26, 2022, offers hope towards a better future for these animals. If this bill is passed, it will end future capture, breeding, import and export of whales–specifically orcas, beluga whales, pilot whales, and false killer whales–for public display. This means that, though currently captive whales would not be freed, whales in the future would never have to endure the same psychological torture.

We are asking you, Mrs. Pelosi, to please endorse the SWIMS Act. Whales are so much more than our entertainment.

Sincerely,
[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gordon2448


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