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Bigger tanks aren't enough for SeaWorld whales

To the editor: As SeaWorld's plummeting stock value and attendance attest, the public is keenly aware that confining intelligent mammals in concrete tanks is unacceptably cruel. Captivity is so stressful for orcas that they attack each other, self-mutilate by gnawing on gates and the sides of tanks, and are given psychotropic drugs just to stop them from lashing out. ("Amid 'Blackfish' backlash, SeaWorld to expand orca environments," Aug. 15)

In the wild, orcas easily dive to depths of 1,000 feet, but SeaWorld's planned tank will be only 50 feet deep and 350 feet long. Orcas would have to swim more than 1,500 laps per day to approximate the 100 miles that they would often swim each day in their ocean homes.

If SeaWorld really wants to improve orcas' environments, it should let them live as nature intended, by sending them to seaside sanctuaries, where they can feel and experience the ocean, hear their extended families, and possibly one day swim freely with them.

Until then, orcas—and the company's bottom line — will continue to suffer.

Jared S. Goodman, Washington

The writer is director of animal law at the PETA Foundation.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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