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  • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    Originally posted by gardener14 View Post
    Within this website is this Q&A
    How are SeaWorld animals trained?
    The training process at SeaWorld is a critical part of our animal welfare program. It is based on the principles of positive reinforcement. No animal is ever punished as part of this process. If an animal chooses not to participate, it doesn’t and it experiences no consequences. Training is an enriching and stimulating process for the animals and contributes to their health. In addition to mental stimulation, training permits SeaWorld zoological professionals to provide better care. Animals are trained to submit to blood tests, provide urine samples, blowhole cultures, and even provide milk for analysis. Close interaction between our staff and animals is critical to assuring the animals’ health and well-being.
    The essence of animal training is to vary reinforcement to keep animals engaged. We use a variety of reinforcements in the training process; some animals prefer a massage or toy instead of food. Each animal and each day is different. No animal’s diet is dependent upon the food it receives in shows. An animal could choose not to participate in any shows and will still receive the same quantity of food.
    That's an excellent post. Thanks. It perfectly demonstrates how Sea World can so easily mislead.

    Sea World's comments prove me wrong about one thing - that the animals receive less food if they don't perform. As it turns out, I was overly generous in my assessment of Sea World. I assumed that they gave the animals a bit more food if they performed and only a minimal amount if they did not perform. I was wrong. Apparently, the animals receive only the minimal amount whether they perform or not.

    The hungry animals get to decide: Do I perform this behavior now and get fed now? Or do I do nothing and get fed later, maybe much later, perhaps at the end of the day. That assumes, of course, that the animals know they will receive their food later if they don't perform. That's a big assumption.

    Obviously, if you're hungry and you're in small tank with nowhere to go and nothing else to do, you're going to choose to work for your food. What else can you do?
    Last edited by evergreen; 01-20-2014, 06:03 PM.

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    • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

      Sea World doesn't specify whether the animals know they can opt out and be fed later. That would be very important. If the animal thinks he's not going to be fed if he doesn't do the trick, then the point is moot.

      Also, they don't say how long the time interval is between opting out and feeding. If the animal does not perform the trick, and the fish in the trainer's hand or bucket is held in front of his face but not given, then it is can be perceived by the animal as negative punishment. "Negative" refers to something being taken away (the fish), and "punishment" because the desired task was not completed.

      But if the fish is given immediately, regardless of whether the dolphin completes the task, then it fails to be a reinforcer, and could be eliminated. If praise is the only reward they need, then why even use fish?

      (I was a grad assistantin quite a few learning and memory classes.)
      Last edited by The First Star; 01-20-2014, 06:50 PM.
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      • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

        Originally posted by Exprmnt626 View Post
        SeaWorld does not own Loro Parque, and never has. Don't lie to try to make your story make sense.


        Morgan the orca does not have any association to SeaWorld, either.


        How exactly are the belugas tied to SeaWorld?

        Sea World and Loro Parque are closely associated.


        And Sea World admits being associated with Morgan.


        In their statement to CNN after Blackfish aired (the one where they refused to be interviewed in person and requested that they only answer a preset list of questions):
        We also assisted our colleagues at Dolfinarium in Holland with veterinary care and husbandry for an orphaned and hearing-impaired juvenile killer whale they rescued.

        According to Dr. Naomi Rose, in her rebuttal to Sea World's responses:
        Morgan (the whale in Holland) was not released, although she could have been (a release plan was formulated by a team of experts). She is currently the target of a legal effort to secure her return to the wild in Norway. It is interesting that SeaWorld does not mention here that the company now claims to own Morgan, as she was moved from Holland to a facility in the Canary Islands [Loro Parque], where several other SeaWorld whales on loan currently reside.

        According to Blackfish, the young man from Loro Parque who was killed by an orca was photographed training at Sea World.
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        • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

          You asked who owned Loro Parque; the implication being that SeaWorld did. SeaWorld does not. Misleading propaganda. Zoos and aquariums world-wide collaborate with each other to aid research or improve husbandry and training techniques.

          SeaWorld assisted colleagues on the care of Morgan, and this somehow makes them responsible for what happens at a park they also do not own?

          The young man from Loro Parque was not training at SeaWorld. Blackfish is using editing to make it look that way.
          Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

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          • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

            Morgan at Loro Parque has been found to be deaf. So no, she won't be released.

            Morgan’s Unusual Training At Loro Parque | Tim Zimmermann

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            • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

              Also, not sure if this had been posted yet, but Sea World has responded pretty directly to Blackfish.
              Truth About Blackfish | SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

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              • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                Evergreen's recent posts have made it more and more clear that he or she is not educating anyone with sound information or experiences but rather just relaying the same information repeatedly given by the anti-captivity activists in this an other situations. It could be SeaWorld or Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey, or horse drawn carriage rides in Central Park, but it's the same old propaganda. Like always, it starts out sounding reasonable, it plays on one's emotions, then, slowly, the distortions start to become clear if you know where to look. Don't be sucked in.

                The corporations shouldn't be given a free pass here either. They should be challenged and watched. However, reason and logic should prevail, not extremism and propaganda.

                Zoos and aquariums can, should, and have improved greatly due to changing laws, regulations, understanding of animal's needs and welfare, and the public's expectations. I believe that will and should continue, but from either side we should have facts with little bias, not bias with distorted facts. Both sides are to blame and have their biases, but I believe the zoos and aquariums are holding up their side of the bargain in regards to integrity both voluntarily within the public's eye and within regulations issued upon them much better than the anti-captivity activists.

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                • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                  Originally posted by Amber View Post
                  Morgan at Loro Parque has been found to be deaf. So no, she won't be released.
                  A quick internet search shows the court date has been postponed to February 14th. Other than her hearing impairment and apparent signs of self-harm, she's in excellent health. Scientists are still fighting for her release: http://www.freemorgan.org/wp-content...cinus-orca.pdf
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                  • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                    So that article, which is on the "Free Morgan" website is not scientific which is demonstrated by the request on every single to page to not cite without permission of the author. This was also written before she had a hearing test. She is deaf, and the only recommended solution is to put her in a sea pen? Alone? Who would want that for her?

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                    • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                      Originally posted by Exprmnt626 View Post
                      You asked who owned Loro Parque; the implication being that SeaWorld did. SeaWorld does not. Misleading propaganda. Zoos and aquariums world-wide collaborate with each other to aid research or improve husbandry and training techniques.

                      SeaWorld assisted colleagues on the care of Morgan, and this somehow makes them responsible for what happens at a park they also do not own?

                      The young man from Loro Parque was not training at SeaWorld. Blackfish is using editing to make it look that way.
                      I didn't ask, I didn't say Sea World owned Loro Parque, and I didn't bring it up. Just saying that the claim that they are completely unrelated facilities has been refuted by experts. As you say, they collaborate. And Sea World has loaned some of their animals to Loro Parque.

                      It is said that Sea World owns all of Loro Parque's orcas, and that they're the ones fighting in court to keep Morgan in captivity, but until I can find a reliable third party source, I won't believe it. That is, I can't trust the PETA activists or Sea World. I do trust leading marine biologists when they say that Sea World claims to own Morgan.

                      And I haven't done any outside research on Alexis Martinez. That's why I said "according to Blackfish." Again, my interest isn't in the he-said/she-said specifics of the documentary. And I can't speak for the filmmakers. As I've said all along, my interest is in dolphin intelligence, and my opinions, which were once pro-captivity or at least indifference, were formed after doing a lot of reading of scientific work in grad school -- before Blackfish was made.
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                      • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                        Originally posted by gardener14 View Post
                        Evergreen's recent posts have made it more and more clear that he or she is not educating anyone with sound information or experiences but rather just relaying the same information repeatedly given by the anti-captivity activists in this an other situations. It could be SeaWorld or Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey, or horse drawn carriage rides in Central Park, but it's the same old propaganda. Like always, it starts out sounding reasonable, it plays on one's emotions, then, slowly, the distortions start to become clear if you know where to look. Don't be sucked in.
                        Please cite an example of where I posted "the same old propaganda" or where I distorted anything.

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                        • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                          Originally posted by Amber View Post
                          So that article, which is on the "Free Morgan" website is not scientific which is demonstrated by the request on every single to page to not cite without permission of the author. This was also written before she had a hearing test. She is deaf, and the only recommended solution is to put her in a sea pen? Alone? Who would want that for her?
                          It is not a peer-reviewed journal article. That is correct. I only posted it to say that scientists (i.e., the person with the PhD) are still fighting for her release. I did not say that I agreed with anything in that article, and so I cannot comment on the content. Notice I did not cite any of the information within the article.

                          I also said that the court date has been postponed.

                          My only point was that the case is ongoing.

                          I don't have a dog in that fight. I'm not the one who brought it up. So you can argue for Morgan's future with someone else.
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                          • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                            Originally posted by gardener14 View Post
                            You continue to make it sound bad that the animals can't perform without food (or what I would call a treat/reward). I don't think it's bad because the vast majority of animal performance use food as a reward. I have seen nuts for bears, seeds for birds, bits of meat for tigers, treats for dogs and cats, so one can surmise that zoos use bits of food to train animals of all sorts for husbandry behaviors.
                            Husbandry behaviors are necessary when keeping animals in captivity. Circus tricks for human enjoyment are not necessary. Zoos don't need them, so why should Sea World?

                            Originally posted by gardener14 View Post
                            My point about accepting animals for entertainment purposes is that it's a poor justification of why orcas shouldn't be kept in captivity. Even if orcas adapt poorly to captivity, animals in general are widely accepted in many forms of entertainment. A few examples beyond ordinary pets are equestrian shows, horse races, rodeos, big cats, birds, elephanats (not just for circuses but for work and show in Asia), as well as animals trained for Hollywood movies and animals hunted for sport [which can't be the fate the animal prefers (to use the anthropomorphic view anti-SeaWorld folks like to present) even if wildlife managers can justify it as population and disease control]. One could argue that zoos in general are primarily for entertainment, a day out with the family, and only offer education as a beneficial side affect. So, no, I'm not embarrassed to say that animals can be used for entertainment and that it fulfills a social need. That general sentiment doesn't conflict with whether orcas are well suited to captivity or training.
                            But at zoos, the entertainment value comes from viewing animals behaving naturally (without the predator/prey behavior, of course) in close approximations to their natural habitats. You may not see the difference between that and circus-style orca and dolphin performances, but I do.

                            My opinion is that Sea World should discontinue its breeding program because orcas and dolphins are extremely intelligent, self-aware, and not endangered.
                            Last edited by The First Star; 01-20-2014, 07:50 PM.
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                            • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                              Originally posted by evergreen View Post
                              First Star, I enoy your posts. They are always thoughtful and intelligent. And you often explain things from a scientific viewpoint with facts, data and credible sources. So thank you.
                              Thanks, I appreciate it. I also enjoy your posts. They inspired me to finally pick up Ric O'Barry's book about his training experiences.

                              I never thought I'd be talking about this kind of stuff on MiceChat, that's for sure!

                              I just wanted people to read some of the articles I'd read, independent of the activist and Sea World perspectives.
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                              • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                                Did not intend to argue. Just wanted to add that she has since been found to be deaf, which I feel is relevant to the topic that had been brought up.

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                                • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...BA&app=desktop

                                  More lies and deception from the producers of Blackfish.
                                  Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

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                                  • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                                    Those saying Zoo's don't train their animals 'tricks' to perform regular 'shows'.... Well I can only speak for the zoos I have been to, which happen to be some of the most famous and renowned within Australia and believe me when I say I sat down and watched a SHOW from sealions performing TRICKS on cue on a stage at a ZOO. The show was held twice a day, every day.
                                    It was written in their park map and is on their website. Yes, it is EXPECTED for there to be a show every day.
                                    The sealions performed tricks like backflips and handstands. They were given FISH as a reward for performing those behaviors, which were part of those animals Daily Rations.

                                    I also had the pleasure to sit down and watch a SHOW of performing birds. Again, regular shows 2 times a day, expected by guests to be performed every day as is written on the Zoo Map. The birds performed tricks like taking money from someone in the audience and placing it in a money tin. (Oh there was also performing mice in the show) The birds were given MEAT as a reward for performing those behaviors. That meat happened to be part of the animals Daily Rations.

                                    Then I also watched an Elephant presentation. It was less structured but the animals still performed TRICKS on cue and were rewarded with part of their daily rations.

                                    These are very well respected Zoos. Yet These Zoos with 'animals forced to perform for human entertainment' are ignored by the ridicule, yet SeaWorld have performing Seals and everyone loses their minds.

                                    The link someone posted about training elephants. Seriously? Because SOME individuals use unhealthy training techniques means everyone does it?? I know people who train dogs with unhealthy training techniques too! Doesn't mean I do it! I use very similar techniques SeaWorld uses actually. I use 'Clicker Training'. Using a clicker similar to SeaWorld uses a whistle. I use 'Targeting', 'Luring' and 'Shaping' techniques all to help me train and I can clearly see SeaWorld using the same type of methods. I know from experience it's not 'forced' and it's not 'cruel' and is not 'negative'.
                                    In fact, using the clicker training, you can literally not ask the animal to do a single thing! The animal does it on it's own and that is rewarded.

                                    Animal training is not cruel. And when you have mega intelligent animals to look after, yes it is your responsibility to keep their brains and their body healthy! I don't care how simple you think a 'hula' is, it still makes them think. It's just like learning Maths. 2x4=8! Easy, right? Yeah, but you had to learn it, which took time and effort and made you use your brain!

                                    4x8 = 32. That's pretty easy too! Then you learn 8x16=128. Wow that got a little harder. Then if you are quizzed in succession "3x6=? 4x5=? 12x9=? (12X3)+(9-8)=?" it gets harder. But you're working your brain all the time and that is healthy. As well as working the body and using those muscles, exercising. THAT is the point of animal training. To get the animal to THINK. I don't understand anyone who is against that, and I will never understand their point of view. The animals are in captivity: FACT! So yes we have to do something with them. Even the most natural environment (Sea pen) eventually will become boring to animals because it's where they are ALL the time. They will STILL be swimming around in circles, looking at the same things day in, day out. (Tilikum lived in a sea pen at SeaLand)

                                    So just to say "Leave them alone and let them do what they want, because Shows are cruel", THAT is cruelty to me when I consider mega-intelligent animals that THRIVE on activities that make them think and use their brain.
                                    Last edited by Skylala; 01-20-2014, 10:09 PM. Reason: spelling

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                                    • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                                      That's very interesting, Skylala. I didn't realize that my local zoos (Los Angeles, San Diego) have shows, too. They're certainly not the main attraction. I had to look it up just now, even though I've been to those zoos many times.

                                      San Diego Zoo's show is called Camp Critter, and the Los Angeles Zoo's show is called Birds of the World. Camp Critter is performed once daily. Birds of the World is currently closed for refurbishment and I couldn't find an old schedule.

                                      I watched Camp Critter on YouTube and noticed a few differences. There are many different types of animals -- wolves, a sea lion, an ocelot, dogs, a bird. Each one only has a brief stint on stage, sometimes coming out only for food. The bird flies around and then lands on its trainer's arm, but performs no other tricks. The dogs do a couple of basic tricks for food. Some of the animals, like the wolves, are just led or carried in front of the audience and then taken backstage. The sea lion has the most stage time, and it's only a few minutes. He even gets a break between his two appearances (giving the opportunity to switch out individual sea lions). I also noticed that the audience was extremely sparse in the video I saw...

                                      Shows are not the main draw for zoos, implying that they know that simply viewing the animals in their enclosures is in itself satisfying. The trained behaviors are minor, routine behaviors (a dog jumps three times) and each individual animal has just a couple of tricks in its repertoire. Some of the animals don't even perform tricks. There is only one show per day. The animals have plenty of time off. In contrast, Blue Horizons is performed at Sea World four times a day on January weekdays, and five times a day on weekends. The animals that are used are not known for intelligence and self-awareness, as are bonobos, chimpanzees, elephants, orcas, dolphins, or magpies.

                                      And, as I stated before, I draw the line at self-awareness. Sea lions are not self-aware, or highly intelligent the way dolphins and orcas are, so I'm not going to get upset and pledge never to go to zoos again because this sea lion "high fives" a little girl.

                                      I'm not defending their existence or condemning them, just saying that there are some fundamental differences that make it hard to compare.

                                      And now that I know zoos also have shows, though they fundamentally differ, I will use qualifying language the next time I talk about zoos and the natural habitats in which "most" of the animals are presented. "Most" of the animals at the zoo do not perform tricks for food.

                                      As for your other point, that training provides enrichment and ending performances would leave the animals bored...

                                      Couldn't the time spent with dolphins and orcas be used for other types of enrichment activities? Why does it have to culminate in a performance in front of a loud, cheering crowd, with loud, pumped-in music?

                                      Watch the videos I mentioned in the "biggest secret" thread (I can PM you the links if you want. I don't think we're supposed to post them here since they're not related to Disney or Sea World). The dolphins in those videos are being trained by researchers to respond to complex, novel questions that depend on word order, locate hidden objects, create their own tricks, and create with other dolphins. Why can't they do that at Sea World to entertain their big-brained animals?

                                      I have also argued for a more "immersive" habitat with other types of animals -- small animals -- coral, caves, bubble machines, toys, family members (obviously), etc. This would be much more entertaining for them than swimming in circles in a barren (except for water) pool all day as you suggested.
                                      Last edited by The First Star; 01-21-2014, 12:53 AM. Reason: Clarification
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                                      • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                                        What i also dont understand is that if Seaworld are all about conservation and 'rescuing' animals why havent they released a statement about the horrors in Taiji or had people fly over there to 'save' the dolphins.

                                        If they dont release a statement then is speaks volumes.

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                                        • Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

                                          Originally posted by Exprmnt626 View Post
                                          SeaWorld does not own Loro Parque, and never has. Don't lie to try to make your story make sense.

                                          Morgan the orca does not have any association to SeaWorld, either.

                                          How exactly are the belugas tied to SeaWorld?
                                          SeaWorld’s Relationship with Loro Parque | Cetacean Inspiration
                                          "

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