Empty The Tanks May 7th 2016

My poster is ready for the Empty the Tanks demonstration next Saturday, 7th. I’ll be heading to Leicester Square to join many others in protest of cetacean captivity. We’ve come so far already, but this is far from over.

Whales and dolphins are imprisoned in aquariums all over the world. At least 163 orcas have died in captivity, not including 30 miscarried or still-born calves. My focus on orca captivity started nearly 20 years ago at SeaWorld, Orlando when I was 11. SeaWorld holds 23 orcas in its three parks in the United States and owns (at least) a further four at Loro Parque in Spain. At least forty-five orcas have died at SeaWorld.


I will be travelling to London from Chelmsford on Saturday morning and wholeheartedly welcome all support ๐Ÿ’™

Enough is enough #emptythetanks


6 thoughts on “Empty The Tanks May 7th 2016

  1. Brent Drinnen May 3, 2016 / 11:37 PM

    I’m not trying to stir up a war, but if they were to empty the “tanks”, what would you want/like to happen to the animals?

    • Joanne Vere May 4, 2016 / 1:36 PM

      No war, that’s a perfectly reasonable question ๐Ÿ™‚

      By ’empty the tanks’ we (anti-captivity campaigners) mean it quite literally – release captive whales and dolphins from zoos and aquariums. I understand how the concept seems simple but we do not take it lightly. It’s an incredibly complex issue.

      There is plenty of evidence to suggest that many captives would not survive release as they have become too familiar with a captive environment and they have difficulty feeding, integrating with wild populations and no longer having human interaction. We saw this with Keiko (Free Willy) who sadly returned to shore repeatedly, which eventually led to her death. On the other hand there is evidence of captive cetaceans surviving release and even reproducing in the wild, but these individuals will likely have not been in captivity long term and will have retained many of their instincts.

      There are, of course, many individuals that are not suitable for release, SeaWorld’s Tilikum being one of them. He has been in captivity over two decades and is clearly psychologically scarred from his experiences. Many others, particularly killer whales, will be as institutionalised. This is where we ask for sea pens – retirement if not release. There are already proposals for ocean sanctuaries by organisations and support financial support offered from charities and corporations. They wouldn’t be truly free, but they won’t be starved or forced to perform or injure themselves through stress and anxiety. They can live out the rest of their days, however long that may be, in vast expanses of sea water where they can interact with each other.

      This isn’t a overnight solution – it will take vast amounts of time, money, public support and preparation, but all the components are there if the aquariums give the word.

      • Brent Drinnen May 4, 2016 / 1:49 PM

        Thank you for the professional answer. I definitely agree that this is not an overnight solution; but, I also feel that release and seapens are not a correct response. However, I really do appreciate the time and the not “going off the deep end” to answer my question.

      • Joanne Vere May 4, 2016 / 1:54 PM

        You’re welcome. For any campaign to have integrity, all sides of the story must be considered and presented fairly. Thank you for asking!

        May I ask, what would you consider an alternative solution?

      • Brent Drinnen May 4, 2016 / 2:09 PM

        I think the end to breeding is a fair and valid solution. It causes the least stress to the animals as they do not have to be transported nor do they have to adjust to a new environment/ while still ensuring that no new animals are introduced.

      • Joanne Vere May 5, 2016 / 1:30 PM

        I agree with you in that there are issues in release and retirement. I would have many concerns about the health of those individuals and the life expectancy. That said, I am of the opinion that I would prefer them to have a shorter life with some taste of freedom rather than see out their longer days in clinical, concrete tanks.

        For me personally as a anti-captivity campaigner, my vision is a complete worldwide ban on cetacean captivity. A ban on captive breeding and release and retirement of current captives are stepping stones towards that goal. The campaign has come so far already but it’s very SeaWorld specific. The road is long!

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