[MARMAM] SeaWorld response to MMS paper on age milestones in killer whales

Naomi Rose naomi at awionline.org
Tue May 12 15:45:02 PDT 2015


Dear MARMAMers:

Once again, I am compelled to post on SeaWorld's current public relations efforts. A recent paper in Marine Mammal Science, which went through comprehensive peer-review, indicates that while survivorship rates have improved in captive killer whales, survival to certain age milestones is still poor compared to the wild. (It also found age milestones at which survivorship declined in captivity, suggesting that husbandry practices during these life stages are particularly problematic, such as separating juveniles from their mothers.) A popular article about this paper was just published, in which Dr. Doug DeMaster was quoted, as well as Dr. Todd Robeck, a veterinarian at SeaWorld. The article is here: http://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-short/tanked-killer-whales-captivity. Any members of the Society can read the original paper, by John Jett, Ph.D. and Jeff Ventre, M.D., online at https://www.marinemammalscience.org/journal/read-the-journal-now/ (the article is available under "early view").

Dr. Robeck, in his capacity as a representative of SeaWorld, is highly critical of Marine Mammal Science and frankly of the peer-review process. (And I must confess, it has not been MY experience that the Society has a "large anti-captivity sentiment in a lot of [its] members.") This is typical of SeaWorld - when the company does not like the facts as presented, it attacks the presenter, whether it is an individual or a journal or an academic association. In short, its typical response is the ad hominem attack, when it should be a presentation of data that counters the claims of the analysis it is criticizing. SeaWorld, in its ongoing PR campaign, has told people that captive whales live as long as wild ones (see http://ask.seaworldcares.com/?p=131), which is not supported by the peer-reviewed science. If the company has data suggesting otherwise, it should publish it.

I call again for the Society for Marine Mammalogy to write to SeaWorld's executives and ask them to stop misinforming the public about marine mammal science and Marine Mammal Science. I strongly urge marine mammal scientists to publicly respond to this PR campaign. This campaign is how many people are learning about killer whales right now and they are being misinformed.


____________________________
[13_AWILogo_ONLY]

NAOMI A. ROSE, PH.D.
Marine Mammal Scientist

ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE
900 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20003
naomi at awionline.org<mailto:naomi at awionline.org>
T: +1 202 446 2120 ~ F: +1 202 446 2131 ~ C: +1 240 401 4269
www.awionline.org<http://www.awionline.org/>

P  Please consider the animals and their habitat before printing.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/marmam/attachments/20150512/8b696997/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: image001.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 2475 bytes
Desc: image001.jpg
URL: <http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/marmam/attachments/20150512/8b696997/attachment.jpg>


More information about the MARMAM mailing list