Response to ‘Killer whales are not for our exploitation’

As a University of Minnesota alumnus, I was disappointed by the opinion piece by Keelia Moeller on killer whales. The piece is neither accurate nor timely.

Given the degree of coverage and emotional response to “Blackfish,” it is imperative that continuing discussions on the topic be based on well-researched and current factual information. For example, the killer whale Tilikum is not held in isolation. Tilikum is being housed with other members of his species. Dawn Brancheau’s tragic death was not in any way related to Tilikum being “increasingly frustrated with the trainer” during a show, as can be seen in video footage. OSHA’s investigation of Sea World preceded the release of the movie “Blackfish” by about two years.

These are just a few examples of the inaccuracies in Moeller’s article. The piece ends with: “Help start Minnesota on a journey toward animal advocacy.” To that, I could not agree more. Along with all of the other critical events and issues in our world today that deserve our attention and action, we should be concerned with the welfare of animals, both those in the wild and those in human care.

However, particularly given that the audience of the Minnesota Daily is primarily people engaged in higher education, we should be on that journey with accurate, objective rather than emotional information. Efforts to improve the lives of animals will be more effective if we reject misleading and primarily emotional appeals, because ultimately, when the truth is exposed, the messengers are discredited and their impact diminished.