Subject: Case Study: Free Willy Commect Europe

Michael Williamson (whe_william)
Mon, 11 Jan 1996 21:45:58

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Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996 21:56:34 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Case Study: Free Willy Commect Europe
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From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 11-JAN-1996 11:04:07.28
Subj:	More FREE Willy
Date:         Wed, 10 Jan 1996 23:50:03 GMT
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Sender:       Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
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From:         Doug Cartlidge <>
Subject:      More FREE Willy
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To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
The Keiko debate appears to be causing quite a furore, not only on the
internet, but the commercial dolphinarium operators P.R companies also
appear to be attempting to "assist" in the debate. I sympathise with the
predicament Steve Leatherwood finds himself in and applaud his efforts with
the Baiji. However would it not be more sensible for those earning millions
from exploiting cetacea to have jumped in to help. Their annual profits far
exceed those of the Conservation and Animal Welfare Organisations  and the
"caring professionals"  in the captivity industry   constantly jump on the
conservation bandwagon to suit their own ends. Just a half penny from every
bottle of beer sold would help Steve immensely. But all we hear is a
cacophony of criticism or abuse whenever voluntary organisations attempt
something the commercial industry should have been doing for years.
I understand IUCN state reintroduction, or at least assistance, should begin
while a population is in its thousands. If cetacea are being kept in barren
concrete cages to breed,  to help at a later date, as stated on numerous
occasions by the caring professionals. Then reintroduction of captive born
stock is to be expected "sometime". Before we attempt this unproved
experiment  (a statement used by the caring professionals) surely we should
get it right with a species which is not endangered.
For at least 30 years the commercial industry have been "releasing" captive
tursiops. When an animal was surplus to requirements, causing problems or
going to die in their care, they simply dumped dozens back into the sea,
some dying on release. One could ask; Where were the pre-release medical
tests? Where was the detraining and proof of it? Where were the viral tests?
Where were the genetic tests? Where was the rehabilitation undertaken? What
monitoring took place and where is the scientific data from 30 years of the
industries dumping etc.,
It has been stated Keiko has a contagious skin infection and therefore
cannot be released, or even moved into a sea pen. If  it is so infectious
one would assume the tursiops who have been sharing the same water would
also be infected by now.
Because the Conservation and Animal Welfare movement attempt something the
commercial industry has failed abysmally to address,  outside of select
conferences, we have been criticised, challenged, even abused. But you know
what...I for one would rather be doing something positive than sitting back
carping and crying because someone else is doing what should have been done
years ago.
While employed as Curator and Director of Animal Training of Sea World
Australia, 1974 - 1976,  I put back at least 2 Tursiops. But not one of my
colleagues criticised my actions. When I initiated "Into the Blue"  those
same people not only criticised, they deliberately and maliciously did ALL
in their power to stop us. Rumour, half truth and outright lies were
repeated daily, even here, by those same caring professionals, and even some
scientists, many of whome profit greatly from cetacean exploitation but
rarely do more than carp to progress or move forward.
YES the Keiko project it is costing a packet, and YES money could always be
better spent when someone else is raising it and spending it elsewhere. But
isn't it time we tried to put something back into the lives of animals we
steal, confine in barren concrete cages and watch, or even applaud, as they
slowly change into shadows of their true selves?
If the captivity industry cannot even keep a dorsal fin straight what can we
expect other than flaccid comment....DC 1996.
From; Doug Cartlidge
          European Cetacean Organisation
          7 Meadway Court
          The Boulevard
          Sussex BN13 1PN
          Phone/Fax; UK;  01903 241 264
              International;  44 1903 241 264