By Hannah Tait
Keeping orcas in a concrete tank for human entertainment is a cruel and outdated practice. Orcas in captivity suffer high levels of psychological and physical stress. They chew on the sides of pools, vomit after meals, and even bash their heads against walls in frustration.
Many countries have begun to take a stand against this cruelty. For example, France recently banned whale and dolphin captivity. Even SeaWorld in the United States has banned orca breeding, effectively phasing captive orcas out of their marine parks completely.
Yet, tragically, a new marine park in Dubai might be about to set the entire global movement against orca captivity back decades.
Last week a company called Dubai Holdings released a promotional video and marketing package announcing the development of a hotel and marine park called Marsa Al Arab, with images of captive orcas in the pools. The company is owned by a multi-millionaire named Abdulla Al Habbai, and while they released a statement saying orcas in the video were used for “illustration purposes only”, activists are calling for this promise to be set in stone.
The promotional video reveals the marine park, located on a man-made island, will be “interactive”, a place where guests are “dazzled” by marine life. It will seat around 1,000 people.
While it is not yet clear what marine life will be held in the park, the model does include miniature orcas and the promotional video displays an orca show. If they are kept there, it is likely the orcas will be forced to perform tricks in a loud environment next to a busy theme park.
On top of this, the orcas will probably be sourced from violent hunts in Russia. They will be made to endure severe psychological stress, being torn away from their families, trapped in dark, tiny shipping crates to undergo a long plane ride. Not to mention the torturous life spent in tanks in the desert, being forced to perform tricks on a daily basis.
Right now plans to keep orcas in the park are not concrete. The plans will not be finalised until 2020, leaving enough time to sway their decision. So this is the perfect time to put pressure on Dubai Holdings to ensure they don’t hold orcas.
If you want to stand up against cruelty to ensure beautiful orcas aren’t subjected to a life of misery – please click here to sign a Facebook petition urging Abdulla Al Habbai not to include orcas in his new development. And please share the petition with family and friends to ensure orcas remain in the ocean.