May 2, 2016 at 1:02 PM
After a 14 year delay, the federal government has finally decided to update the standards of care for captive whales and dolphins.
According to the Animal Welfare Institute, the updated standards do very little for the animals – for instance they don’t change the minimum tank size standard.
The current space standards were set over 30 years ago and have no basis in science or even best practices within the captive display industry.
As an example, for up to two orcas, a facility need only provide a circular tank with a diameter twice as wide and a depth half as deep as an average adult orca is long.
This standard does not even allow the animal to position itself fully in the vertical plane (its tail would touch and drag on the bottom before the animal reaches full upright orientation).
The government (USDA) claims to be ignorant of any scientific literature that demonstrates the need that whales and dolphins have for space…yet that information is readily available, and in some cases was even funded by the government. The research shows that orcas travel as much as 120 miles a day, and regularly dive over 500 ft deep.
Having paid for, completed, and published data that show the woeful inadequacies of keeping whales in tanks, why in the world won’t they change the standards?
The recent death of a killer whale with tagging fragments found embedded in his body has forced NOAA to reconsider the invasive methods they were using to find out where the orcas go in the winter. What is the point of harming an endangered species if the government is just going to ignore the data when it comes to helping captive whales?
Source: Blog SeattlePi.com