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Debate.png This is a Debate page.
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Information icon.svg This debate was created by GR.


Should we prohibit Seaworld and similar aquatic spectacle events involving marine animals? Propositional material to start the debate:


There are two aspects that I care about:

  • The welfare of the non-human animals
  • The welfare and working conditions of the humans

Based on what I saw in these videos, the conditions in captivity for those animals is terrible; they keep biting the pool walls and thus slowly destroying their teeth and needing to extract their damaged teeth. Extreme boredom causes this. They might also suffer psychologically from the confining conditions, not to mention the stress they are exposed to when around human masses. The latter documentary even depicts self-mutilating behavior by the whales, jumping around and hitting themselves on the concrete or, the dolphins swimming quickly to heat the wall with their "nose".

This also causes them to have sometimes aggressive behavior towards the trainers, with one trainer being killed seemingly out of the blue by one of their beloved whales. This also gets me to the trainers who, despite genuinely loving those individual animals and clearly bonding with them, still get injuries and psychological traumas by the animals "acting out" on them.

It isn't black or white, of course, educational value is obtained by those spectacles. But I can't possibly see how this is an ethical treatment of relatively intelligent and sensitive animals.

Godless Raven SDAPOe logo.svg talkstalkwalkbalk 🌹 Flag of Europe.svg 03:25, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

I don't think humans should even have a right to enslave other animals (anywhere and in any conditions) and put them in water tight boxes, where they are forced to perform "tricks" to please a bunch of laughing kids. Fowler (talk) 16:42, 14 August 2020 (UTC)
I am pro-banning as per GR and Fowler. If employing humans to entertain kids in these conditions is unacceptable, then the same standard should apply to animals. Enough said. Kiko4564 (talk) 16:20, 17 August 2020 (UTC)
I'm in favor of laws mandating sufficient humanitarian treatment as to be indistinguishable from banning from a financially pragmatic perspective. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 19:03, 17 August 2020 (UTC)
This completely depends on your stance on veganism, unless you have another, non-animal related reason. Yeah, we should stop killing animals, and enslaving them, and taking them away from their habitats. Causing pain to organisms that have similar experiences to us creates a world where I don't think we can justify not enacting arbitrary violence against each other. Stop that! KGlife (talk) 21:38, 1 September 2020 (UTC)


Animals as animals are not subjects of morality; no animal can have rights, and no animal can be the subject of any moral duty owed by human beings. Notions like 'rights' and 'duty' only have meaning in the context of human societies, in which animals cannot participate. Rather, any duties imagined to be 'owed' to an animal are in fact owed to our better selves. All of the actually domesticated animals are willing 'slaves'; a critter like a chicken really isn't a complicated being, and they do not much care about their living conditions as much as they do about being fed and sheltered from predators. Life as a feral chicken is no blissful utopia of freedom, after all.

So it's perfectly legitimate to find a killer whale more picturesque or interesting than a horsefly, and hold it in higher regard on that account alone. Which animals you prefer is a matter of taste. There is no such thing as 'speciesism'. Sparrows, house mice, and bedbugs are all creatures that depend on human beings and co-evolved with us. They depend on us the same way a Pekingese or a domestic turkey does. They could not live without us. That doesn't mean that you have any obligations to allow mice and bedbugs in the house and let them run free and unmolested. Again, you owe them no duties, and preferring the sparrow to the bedbug is a preference you're allowed to have.

So yes, a killer whale can be property. You're allowed to kill one if it shows up in your swimming pool. Whether you should be allowed to hunt and eat them is purely a technical and pragmatic issue of whether it can be done sustainably. We allow Native people with a tradition of doing so to continue, a right promised by treaty. (Why we should begrudge the same right to the Japanese or Norwegians is a rather knotty question IMO.) I also find their captivity for entertainment distasteful. No human built aquarium is big enough to keep them properly. Still, I would not ban the practice. Questions of taste should not be legislated.

Also, anyone who works with wild animals signed up for a bit of danger. It does have its rewards; it's more interesting than sitting in a cubicle like a factory farm chicken is. Making tigers and killer whales do tricks makes you a minor celebrity; people come to see you because they know it's dangerous. Bad things are bound to happen. I wouldn't want to remove the choice for that reason alone.

There is a more pragmatic reason for keeping the practice legal. Animal rights is worse than merely wrong; it is an authoritarian cult. Increasingly, animal rights cultists have taken to acting like the anti-abortion cult, down to the letter: they invade restaurants, farms, and slaughterhouses, the same way anti-abortion cultists do at clinics, all because the poor widdle animals are dying there, they'we in cages, and it's so cwuel!. Given this practice, I refuse to take their horseshit seriously. When people pick an inappropriate target to sentimentalize, whether it's fetuses or livestock, and discover that nobody else cares, something seems to break inside of them and turns them into obnoxious bullies. The anti-abortion cult has been a blight on the land for most of my life. While I breathe, I will do what I can to prevent a similar cult from arising.

So faced with the options of giving a concession to the animal rights movement and tolerating Sea World, I must choose toleration. Smerdis of Tlön, wekʷōm teḱsos. 04:29, 16 August 2020 (UTC)

By that logic, if an alien species were to visit us, we too would not be inherently entitled to any rights. But beyond the first paragraph, I find myself agreeing with absolutely everything else... CoryUsar (talk) 17:09, 17 August 2020 (UTC)
Technically the aliens would not be excluded if they had the ability to participate in human societies. If they had the capacity to learn and use our languages, and we theirs, they'd at least have their foot in the door. Without that, it's hard to imagine them achieving the level of technology needed to cross interstellar space for a visit. Not that it's likely; intelligent life is a self-limiting phenomenon, and when an alien species achieves the technical level we enjoy, they're headed for a collapse same as us. We are all Moties here. Smerdis of Tlön, wekʷōm teḱsos. 18:50, 17 August 2020 (UTC)
Not necessarily. It's not clear that The Great Filter lies ahead of intelligence instead of behind it. In the case of Humans, the real reason we have intelligence is due to runaway sexual selection regarding art. Intelligence beyond that of, say, a wolf pack is actually a huge evolutionary disadvantage, in that brains are incredibly expensive from a biological standpoint and extremely dangerous for the mother; I'm not aware of any vertibrate species with anywhere close to the complications of childbirth that humans have. And in the 4 billion years life has existed on Earth, only 1 species has been proven capable of building lasting civilization (no, ant colonies don't count). It's possible that Earth is rare in the sense that most life-supporting planets aren't capable of life for nearly as long as Earth has, with stars changing temperature/size over hundreds of millions of years, other planets eventually having unstable enough orbits to wreak havoc with all the other planets, most planets being located in denser regions of space where supernovae are more likely to eventually wipe out the planet, etc. CoryUsar (talk) 20:50, 17 August 2020 (UTC)
The notion that the Filter precedes intelligence is an interesting thought. It is possible that life normally overtaxes its ecosystem and collapses under its own weight before intelligence has a chance to arise is certainly a possibility. Making this less likely, though hardly ruling it out, is the fact that all of the great mass extinctions we have documented in Earth's history seem to have hd external causes: asteroids, volcanism, continental drift. It's certainly possible to imaginw a world that develops nothing smarter than moss, which breeds so successfully that it drowns in its own waste products and exhausts the carrying capacity of its planet. Might be that life on Earth hit a magic formula, one that enabled multicellular organisms to increase in abilities and made evolution more agile here. Still, the fundamental dynamic of evolution is to consume and reproduce. If there are other intelligent critters out there, we can expect them to be predators, products of an unforgiving and competitive environment, just like us. I don't think I really want to meet them. Smerdis of Tlön, wekʷōm teḱsos. 18:21, 18 August 2020 (UTC)