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Orca Month: Orca Action #6
posted on June 29, 2019

Orca Month: Orca Action #6

As the June Orca Action Month ends it is just the beginning of upcoming actions to protect the rights of orcas. The ocean habitats are the homes of indigenous orcas. They live in all oceans of the world. They have their cultures and language. However, they do not have rights to live without humans violating their lives!

I reminisce of past accomplishments and failures for the rights of other sentient beings with whom we share this planet:
• In the 80s the City of Vancouver was the first in the world to declare an Animal Rights Day and two Vancouver Island cities were the first to ban wild and domestic animal acts in circuses.
• In 1992 Lifeforce wrote a Marine Mammal Freedom Declaration that was supported by organizations internationally.

The Animal “Not So” Rights organizations compromised. Soon only wild animal acts were prohibited. This led to their ongoing plight to perform in cities that did not have any bans... and the abuses of domestics continue today!

Lifeforce Protection of Orcas
Since the 80s Lifeforce has fought against captivity. This included all the Vancouver Aquarium expansions! In 1993, a 18’ boat was donated and we began our direct actions to stop vessel harassment of orcas. We fought for better protections.

I remember studying “Granny” (J2) and the then reported son “Ruffles” (J1). Ruffles was actually from L pod but travelled together for 34 years. The matriarch Granny led the Js, Ks and Ls when it was time to leave the Fraser River fishing grounds.

The Early Experiments
Taku (K1) lived from 1955-1998. He was captured in 1973 and kept for 2 months. Before he was set free, he had two notches cut into his dorsal fin for easy identification and was fitted with a radio transmitter to track him. A transmitter was also bolted onto transient # T014. Major dorsal fins injuries occurred.

Fortunately the researchers realized that all orcas were not identical and could be identified by their unique markings. But the SRKWs are still being studied to death! In 2016 an L pod male died from an infection from a tracker dart.

Some individuals and organizations now jump on the Save the Orca bandwagon. They are trying to rewrite the history of them actually supporting orca captivity and research. They did not ring the alarm bells that lack of food due to over fishing, pollution and vessel traffic were destroying both the orcas and their home waters!

Lifeforce volunteers were trailblazers! On water: Harassed by whale watch companies that waked our little research boat! On land: Our truth challenged by the aquarium industry!

In the 80s we helped defined the new Animal Rights Movement. We even freed wild caught baboons from lab experiments through the first of its kind Canadian Cruelty to Animal Charges. Now we continue to define the Rights of Orcas! To Be Continued...

In Respect For All Life,
Peter Hamilton
Lifeforce Founder