On Protecting Captive Wild Animals and Nonhuman Animals

Posted by Emily Gallagher, ALDF Litigation Clerk on July 27, 2012

Wild animals kept in captivity, whether born there or captured in the wild, are inherently dangerous. The recently surfaced video of a trainer being held under water by an orca at SeaWorld highlights this reality. No matter how much human contact they receive, these animals remain, at core, unpredictable. And why should we expect them to be otherwise? Why should large, predatory animals, held captive in artificial environments, forced to modify their natural behaviors for human entertainment, be considered safe? See the video below (contains no audio).

ALDF filed a petition asking OSHA to require a barrier between workers and captive wild animals, just as OSHA currently does for other inherently dangerous workplace hazards. This petition highlights the reality of animal entertainment: it is not a playful demonstration of an animal’s favorite tricks, but a contrived interaction with a wild animal that is dangerous to both animal and human alike. This petition reminds spectators that what they are seeing is a wild animal isolated from his natural home, deprived of the opportunity to engage in natural behaviors, and expected to gently and safely interact with his human captors.

8/9/2012 Update
Trainer Daniel Beck is bitten by a captive alligator after Beck
repeatedly puts his hand in the animal’s mouth. This footage was shot on
the cellphone camera of an audience member at the Cuyahoga County Fair
in Ohio on August 9, 2012, and uploaded to LiveLeak.com. Daniel Beck is a
trainer with Kachunga & the Alligator Show and received stiches for
his injury at an area hospital.

One thought on “On Protecting Captive Wild Animals and Nonhuman Animals

  1. Hoppy says:

    The Navy is doing it again. Please notify all concerned parties. I do not mean to step on this topic. However, this is closely related and very important.

    The US Navy is planning on moving 109 mammals including dolphins and seals to a new location in San Diego Bay. This location is unparalleled for risks presented to the health of these mammals by any previous location. The new location presents health risks due to: ingestion of petro chemical laced water and bacterial contamination. Please assist in helping me spread the news to concerned organizations for the purpose of
    stopping the Navy.

    The new location is located in a narrow harbor entrance in close proximity to significant recreational boat activity. The channel is so narrow that the navy will not be able to enforce the normal 100 yard restricted zone for recreational vessels. Most importantly, the Navy has falsely assumed that the channel has significant flushing action. Three previous studies of the channel all identified poor flushing. One report referred to the flushing action as having a “short circuit”. The drogue tests identified significant eddy conditions circulating right in the area where the recreational vessels enter and exit the harbor and where the mammals are going to be kept. The area has clearly visible high amounts of suspended material such as minute organic material or inorganic sediments that can result in longer periods of suspended contaminants that will be consumed in the drinking process by the mammals.

    A 66 inch storm drain with a source of dry and wet season runoff that comes from 300 acres of residential runoff discharges 60 yards from the new docks where the mammal pens will be located. The discharge is pointed directly at the new docks. Reports indicate that the pipe had a continuous chlorine maintenance program. However, no current chlorination program is identified.

    People Helping Animals (PAWS) sought federal action in Bangor Washington. 9 cfr 3.103 was cited by PAWS in the Bangor case. The court required significant research and establishment of standards for water temperature. Mean and peak pollution levels which consider seasonal high motor vessel activity such as labor day to memorial day and especially the 4th of July (huge fire works show)should be identified for the petro chemical issue. I found the CFR’s cited by PAWS in the Bangor case. I found the laws that apply to water quality, 9 cfr 3.106 and 9 cfr 3.107 Just like the Bangor case I feel the laws will require that water quality laws be identified or established and compliance will be required. 9 cfr 3.106 exempting chemical tests specifically refers to “natural” seawater. By no means do I considered polluted water as “natural” due to the fact that the authors of the law did not anticipate that seawater would be taken from areas known to be polluted with petro chemicals. Additionally, 9 cfr 3.107 applying to particulate debris does not offer any exemption from chemical testing. I will continue to seek legal backup from any concerned organization. Please forward my comments to anyone who you feel can assist.

    Although the Navy eventually moved the mammals to Bangor the issues addressed in the Bangor court decision are still applicable. The court required that the Navy establish specific knowledge of the potential health hazards prior to moving the mammals. A plan to request that the Navy identify existing water quality specifications as they relate to petro chemical pollution should be sought. In the absence of any existing specifications such standards be established for any new or existing location where mammals are kept should be established . I feel the pollution issue can be filed at any time and not specific to an EA or EIS. The fact that the Navy has a diminishing budget will not exclude them for complying with any set standards.

    I have charts, photographs and research studies which I can send you. Additionally, I can escort individuals onto the base for closer visual examination of the proposed new location. The Navy referrers to the move as a
    temporary move. The time frame covers four to five years. However, there is reason to believe the Navy will later make the move permanent. The plan is addressed by the Navy at
    Or google Replacement of Fuel Pier 180



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