So when I learned yesterday, that PETA's "wildlife veterinarian," who graduated from veterinary school in May and completed neither an internship or residency in aquatic animal medicine, had visited SeaWorld San Diego and offered any clinical assessment of the captive residents, I was astounded. In reading the individual's LinkedIn profile, I learned that she participated in a month-long externship in marine mammal medicine and is now touted as an expert in marine mammal clinical medicine and pathology by none other than PETA. I don't think a month- long "workshop" gives someone enough training or credibility to make a scathing report about the health and welfare of animals in a marine park, a zoo, a sanctuary or in the wild. I would be more inclined to listen to someone selling cotton candy behind Shamu Stadium than this individual.
I immediately sought out some data in the literature to refute her findings or at least counter her agenda, which was to slam SeaWorld.
The first study that I encountered following a brief search of the scientific literature suggests that high PCB levels in southern resident killer whales, not only make this orca population among the most contaminated in the world, but that the PCB's in their tissues increases their susceptibility to communicable or infectious diseases, including those infecting other odontocete species, which share their marine habitat. Therefore, to suggest that living free means living healthy couldn't be farther from the truth when it comes to marine mammals.