After news broke that a Dutch court ruled Morgan, the wild-caught orca held at a marine park in the Canary Islands, wouldn’t be freed, outraged reactions have been cropping up around the internet. We asked orca experts and advocates for their reactions to the ruling:
Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of the CNN documentary "Blackfish," said:
This is a story that could have ended remarkably. But SeaWorld's tentacles stretch far and wide. This decision is based on fiction. We were in the Netherlands when they matched her vocalizations with a Norwegian killer whale pod. Local law required her to be returned. But the Dolphinarium was working closely with SeaWorld and SeaWorld needs fresh DNA for their breeding program. So they moved her to Loro Parque to be part of SeaWorld's "collection." She's not faring well at all.
Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist and orca expert with the Animal Welfare Institute, said that the decision is likely “the result of pressure brought to bear on the court by corporate interests than any objective application of the law.”
Morgan should never have left the Netherlands and that’s all there is to it. Loro Parque is using her for primarily commercial purposes, which is against EU regulations. This was a perfect opportunity for a court in the EU to establish that what goes on at exhibits like Orca Ocean in Loro Parque is primarily commercial rather than primarily educational. The Dutch court failed science, failed the law, and once again failed Morgan. It’s sad.
Former SeaWorld trainer and orca activist Jeffrey Ventre said:
This was an affirmation by the court on the lawfulness of its previous decision and not an evaluation of Morgan's health or living situation. From that perspective, this was not unexpected. From Morgan's point of view, she will now live with a dysfunctional artificial pod placed at a theme park by SeaWorld, a large US corporation that makes its profits from captive marine mammals. Until regular people better organize, corporate controlled states, including the US, will continue to create or affirm policies which favor business.
The animal advocacy group Born Free Foundation said:
This is incredibly disappointing as it means that for now Morgan will remain incarcerated at Loro Parque. Born Free continues to support the Free Morgan Foundation and will do all we can to support Morgan's freedom.
Campaign director for the Oceanic Preservation Society Candace Crespi said that the battle against cetacean captivity is far from over:
Despite this ruling, activists around the world will continue to fight on behalf of captive whales and dolphins. We may have lost this battle, but we will not lose the war.
Others took to Twitter to express their outrage at the decision: