“Orcas are Animals”: 6 Reasons why this Reasoning Does not Work in Favor of Mistreatment


People need other forms of life in order to stay human, and because of that, there is no justification for the mistreatment of animals (Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT).

Staff Writer
In response to “6 Reasons Why SeaWorld Should Keep its Orcas:”
Since the earliest known cases of the domestication of wolves to the most recent creations of “designer” dog breeds, humankind has longed for the companionship of other animals. People love to be around other creatures of this world because they provide us with a level of emotion that we cannot attain in isolation. Humans receive social stimulation from other humans, undying loyalty from dogs, playful affection from cats – the list goes on. The fact of the matter is that people cannot survive alone; we need other forms of life in order to stay human, and this fact should never be disregarded. Therefore, just because something is an animal does not justify mistreatment of it. The following are just six reasons from an endless list for why that is the case.
1. Humans are animals too.
When people say that animal mistreatment does not matter, they are also saying that human mistreatment does not matter because at the end of the day, humans are animals as well. If someone believes that forcing an orca to live in conditions that are dangerous for his or her health is acceptable because the orca is an animal, then, by the same reasoning, it is acceptable for terrorists to hold journalists in war-torn countries hostage. Since, obviously, neither situation is at all acceptable, it follows that there is a flaw in the reasoning.
2. One’s misfortune does not justify another’s.
It is ridiculous to claim that if one creature is in pain it means that another’s pain is acceptable. Just because animals are forced into inhumane conditions on factory farms does not mean that orcas should be forced into similar conditions in theme parks. By that logic, the abuse suffered by certain war captives justifies the gross injustices of domestic abuse suffered by innocent people throughout the world.
3. Prison is for humans.
Humans are only imprisoned after committing crimes. Why, then, is it acceptable to treat other animals as if they have already done something wrong? Why would it be acceptable to imprison orcas in harsh concrete prisons simply because of the fact that they are animals? Wild orcas that are caught and forced into captivity, as well as orcas born into captivity, do not commit crimes – even the orcas that have killed people in theme parks only did so after they had already been imprisoned.
4. Many animals are endangered or even extinct.
Humans have caused most of these extinctions and endangerments – we do not have the right to continue to prey on helpless animals and continue to destroy what nature has created.
5. Most animals are helpless.
They cannot scream, cry, or accuse – they can only feel. Mistreatment of animals cannot be justified because they are assumed to be ignorant or immune to pain. We do not understand the chatter of monkeys, the barks of foxes or the wails of orcas, so we cannot claim to understand their feelings, or lack thereof.
6. Abuse cannot ever be justified.
End of discussion.
This article neither supports nor opposes SeaWorld or its practice of training orcas for shows – that is not what this article is about. What it is about is the fact that all lives are important, so whether one supports or opposes SeaWorld, his or her position should be based on more informed reasons than “orcas are animals.” The only thing that the statement proves – contrary to popular use – is that mistreatment is wrong, not whether or not SeaWorld’s treatment of orcas counts as mistreatment. The fact is that all animals are important: the chickens on a farm, the elephants on a savannah, the humans in a city and the orcas in a theme park.