(See bottom for update) In an unprecedented ruling, Dutch judge H. Kijlstra blocked the attempt to move the young orca Morgan to Loro Parque, a Spanish amusement park that is closely tied to SeaWorld.
He went a step further and ruled that the whale has to be moved from her small tank to a larger one where she will have dolphins as companions, in order to give her the best possible circumstances while long term decisions can be reached regarding her welfare.
Finally, he ruled that the interested parties will need to work together to come up with the best solution for the whale.
Again: he ruled that the whale’s best interests are paramount, and not the interests of any and all people and amusement parks that might benefit from keeping her in captivity:
Court blocks export of rescued whale
“This is a massive victory,” said Wietse van der Werf of the Orca Coalition of Holland, an ad hoc advocacy group.
“This is the first time in history that the export of an orca has been blocked by a judge. It exposes the international trade among dolphinariums as a very lucrative industry.”
The Amsterdam District Court ruled that Morgan, a killer whale 3 or 4 years old who was due to be shipped to a Spanish amusement park, would remain in the Harderwijk Dolphinarium for now, but would be moved from her small cement tank to a larger enclosure with other animals.
The court ruled that more research be conducted to find a solution for Morgan, and ordered the dolphinarium, the government and the animal rights activists who filed the case to work together.
To find out more about Morgan and to join the remarkable international group of people working to secure Morgan’s future, please go to the Free Morgan website. They are up against the resources of wealthy institutions such as SeaWorld, and they need your help to continue to work towards Morgan’s release to the wild.
Although financial contributions are always appreciated, remember that you can make a difference in other ways – writing letters, posting to your Facebook pages, holding fund raising events in your community. Just use your imagination and join in!
“The Dolfinarium Harderwijk has ignored the judge’s directions and has done nothing towards moving Morgan into a larger enclosure,” Dr Visser said.
“They have refused to release any of her health records, her DNA profile or her acoustical records which would help to get her back to her extended family. Her mental health has deteriorated a lot. She is now screaming so loud that it is ear-piercing and she is exhibiting stereotypical behaviours nearly 90 per cent of the time I was watching her.”
Stereotypical behaviour is a term for frequently repeated actions typical of animals held in confined spaces with little to do.