Mike's Mail Bag: Killer whales

POSTED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 8:17pm

UPDATED: Thursday, April 22, 2010 - 10:38am

TYLER - Michael Wesp wants to hear your thoughts on today's issue, should killer whales be kept in captivity?

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I feel he should not be put down, but should NOT ever perform again.

Having worked with show cattle in the past, it can be very dangerous at times, even if you have raised the animal from birth. I knew of a case in Houston where a young man was killed. Ths mistake that he made was in tying a lead rope around his waist to exercise and train the animal. The animal got scared from something and bolted, dragging the young man to death. Animals, even though you may be very familiar with them, should be respected as such. I'm sure that veternarians would probably give the same advice.

I believe Kenny is right. The whale saw the movement of her ponytail and his normal reaction kicked in. He was seeing food not a person.

What "out of proportion"? This happens once every 5, 10 years. Rare enough, and odd enough, to be newsworthy. Report away!

The media is blowing this way out of proportion. These animals I believe are very happy and healthy when raised in captivity. The trainers love what they do and know theres always a risk when working with such large animals. The Orca saw what it believed was food when it grabbed her pony tail and Im sure that very trainer had recently handed it a fish then mistaked her hair for just that! It is very unfortunate but I would almost bet if that very trainer was here now she would also say it is not that animals fault and no harm should come to such a beautiful animal!

Every time a tragedy, like this recent one, happens people want to start banning this and banning that. My prayers go out to the family of this woman who lost her life. To answer your question directly, we learn allot from animals we have in captivity, including the Orcas and people get to see animals up close that they might not other wise get to see in real life. As the relative and coworkers of this woman stated everyone involved knows the risks and this woman died doing what she loved. To out law her profession would be a dishonor to her and those like her, and by making it illeagal to have them in captivity that is what you would be doing.

We must remember who created all things. If God did, how dare we kill that was made by HIM!!! There is a purpose for all things. let these beautiful creatures live.

They are properly called Orcas, not Killer Whales, and they come out considerably behind, for example, Saint Bernards and many other dog breeds in terms of negative interactions with humans. This is a simple question of hazard versus risk, something we apply to pretty much everything in our lives except wildlife, to which we absurdly assign a risk value of 100%. This brings silly "documentaries" about anacondas, piranhas, pythons in Florida and a host of other things that almost never bother anyone. As with Toyotas, no one in the media will give us the perspective: how many zillion hours of contact do the trainers have with Orcas? How many zillion hours have the implicated Toyotas functioned properly vs those that have not? THAT is the ONLY way to measure a hazard and know the risk likelihood. And with Orcas it is really low. This is, as usual, media-incited panic.

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