When (Not) Seeing Is Important

As regular readers will know, I like to say “Seeing Is Important” because seeing helps people understand (and believe) the reality of what goes on in the world, whether at a marine park or a factory farm.

So I was struck by the following tidbit in Elizabeth Batt’s report on legal threats made against Dr. Ingrid Visser over her reports about orca Morgan’s experience at Loro Parque.

This is the gate at the entrance to Loro Parque’s Orca Ocean as it was last June (and was when I was there last year):

And this is the same gate in July 2011 (and presumably today):

Notice a difference? Visser has used her camera to tell Morgan’s story at Loro Parque in devastating detail. So Loro Parque took measures to make it hard or impossible for visitors to see what is going on with the orca outside of shows.

It’s an obvious response. But when an industry or corporation is blocking access, and becoming less transparent, it is a sign that all is not well inside, and that the industry is afraid of what the public might think if they truly understood what goes on behind closed doors (and hastily erected fences). For that sort of business “Not Seeing Is Important.”

Batt publishes one other “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words” picture taken by Visser. It shows SeaWorld’s Chief Zoological officer, Brad Andrews, taking in the orca show alongside Kiessling.

SeaWorld, despite protestations to the contrary, has long had a very close working relationship with Loro Parque, and helped launch its orca program. If Morgan is used for breeding it will bbe very interesting–and telling–to see where the calves go.

Anyhow, I doubt that fences or legal threats can slow Visser down. And her work is making a difference, judging from the number of people who have signed this petition calling for Morgan’s release. The Dutch court will issue a ruling on Morgan’s fate on Dec. 13. Whether it calls for the revisitation of the Dutch ministry decision to send Morgan to Loro Parque or not, Visser will have accomplished something very important simply by making so many people aware of Morgan’s story.


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