As humans, we have quite a bit to worry about in our personal lives. We need to find jobs, make sure we have a roof over our heads, enough food and water, and then of course, friends and love. With all of these individualistic needs, it’s no surprise that people often feel too preoccupied with their own personal problems to help the other species on our planet. This sensation is only amplified when we realize the magnitude of certain issues. Take the marine animal captivity industry, for instance.
Anyone who looks into this industry is met with a slew of upsetting realities. Captive marine animals are confined to pools so small they are downright criminal in comparison to the ocean they could be roaming had they been left in the wild. Since they are confined to such tiny spaces, these animals start to exhibit symptoms of depression, boredom, and frustration such as slamming themselves against walls, lying motionless, or swimming in circles repetitively. When driven to absolute desperation, some captive orcas even beach themselves and dolphins have consciously chosen to stop breathing and end their own lives. Still, marine parks like SeaWorld insist on cruelly keeping these animals under their “care.”
Although, many strides have been made in recent years to help these creatures, especially after the movie Blackfish came out, our efforts leave much to be desired. Thankfully, there are several people who have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness about the captivity industry and how important it is for humans to start respecting their natural habitats.
When Katie Emmons became familiar with the plight of captive marine animals, she knew she had to do something. At 14, she saw “The Cove,” a documentary about dolphin slaughter, and instantly became a young adult advocate on the issue, determined to help end the industry in any way she could. Seven years later, and Emmons has made good on her promise! The 21-year-old started Blue Freedom, her own organization to raise awareness for marine animals in captivity, and has had two successful campaigns: one was a petition for release of captive orca Tillikum, and the other was to fund a film that would shed light on the captivity industry called “Voiceless.”
Well, after a year of working on the film, “Voiceless” is ready! On July 18th, the film will debut at Superpod 5, a conference where conservationists come together to talk about captivity. Since Emmons feels that the film is regarding an issue everyone show know about, the film will be available for free to the public after the debut. She also hopes that the film will inspire marine parks and even places like Disney, to finally empty the tanks and give these creatures their lives back.
Here’s Katie with the President and Co-Founder of Orca Network, Howard Garrett.
While, of course, not everyone has time to start an organization and make a full-length film, there is still plenty that you can do to help marine animals in captivity. To start off, you can share this article to raise awareness about the issue. Secondly, you can choose to not support the industry by refusing to buy a ticket to marine parks like SeaWorld. It is only through monetary compensation that these businesses are able to stay afloat. We may not be the ones stealing these animals from the ocean or abusing them to learn tricks, but remember, it is up to us to save these majestic creatures and #EmptyTheTanks! Every day that we stay silent on this issue is another day that these animals remain voiceless. Help captive marine animals by not supporting the industry that abuses them. It’s really that simple.
Image source: Blue Freedom Project