Bryan Fischer
What part of "killer whale" does Sea World not understand?
By Bryan Fischer
March 31, 2011

Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at "Focal Point"

(Note: this is an updated version of a column first posted on February 24, 2010 when Tilikum struck for the third time.)

You remember, of course, that a 12,000 pound killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando killed his trainer Dawn Brancheau last year by pulling her into a pool by her pony tail and dragging and thrashing her around until she drowned in front of a crowd of stunned guests, which of course included young children.

That's another death we can chalk up to animal rights insanity and to the ongoing failure of the West to take counsel on practical matters from the Scripture.

And now we discover today that insanity continues: Tilikum is back in the water, ready to kill again.

The justification for Tilikum's return to the killing pools is nauseating. Said Kelly Flaherty-Clark, SeaWorld Orlando's animal training curator, his return to active duty is "an important component of his physical, social and mental enrichment." Well, as long as he's happy, that's the main thing.

This is the value system of environmentalists today: three human lives lost, no biggie. The supreme priority here is to enrich this killer's pea-sized brain.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, in February of last year, "SeaWorld Orlando has always know that Tilikum...could be a particularly dangerous killer whale...because of his ominous history."

The Sentinel then recounted that Tilly, as he is affectionately known, killed a trainer back in 1991 in front of spectators at a now defunct aquarium in Victoria, British Columbia.

Then in 1999 he killed a man who sneaked into SeaWorld to swim with the whales and was found the next morning draped dead across Tilly's back. His body had been bit and the killer whale had torn off his swimming trunks after he had died.

What about the term "killer whale" do SeaWorld officials not understand?

If the counsel of the Judeo-Christian tradition had been followed, Tilikum would have been euthanized back in 1991 and would not have had the opportunity to claim two more human lives. Two people would be alive today if the counsel of Scripture had been followed.

Says the ancient civil code of Israel, "When an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner shall not be liable" (Exodus 21:28).

In other words, the biblical precedent here — worth imitating in our day — is that if you own an animal who kills somebody, you have a moral responsibility to euthanize that animal so that it cannot kill again. You have no moral culpability for the first death, because you had no way of knowing that the animal would suddenly go postal on somebody.

But, as the Scripture soberly warned ancient Israel, if one of your animals kills a second time because you didn't euthanize it after it claimed its first human victim, this time you would forfeit your own life right along with your animal. To quote the relevant section from Israel's code, "[I]f the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death" (Exodus 21:29).

Under Israel's law code, the only way to redeem your life was through the payment of a fine acceptable to the victim's family. "If a ransom is imposed on him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is imposed on him."

Brancheau's husband has in fact retained a Chicago law firm for a possible wrongful death lawsuit. Although one has yet to be filed, my advice to him is to sue the pants off SeaWorld. Your wife would be alive today were it not for its criminal negligence.

SeaWorld, however, was unrepentant even at the time. Chuck Thompson, its curator in charge of animal behavior, said then that Tilly continues to be "a valuable asset not only from a breeding standpoint but from a behavior standpoint, too." Chuck might want to ask Dawn's husband what he thinks about that.

Thompson did add, helpfully, "I think we need to evaluate his behavior and everything that's happened up to this point." You're about 20 years too late, Chuck, and the blood of Dawn Brancheau is on your hands.

And SeaWorld's evaluation has put this animal right back in the water when he should long ago have been put out of everyone's misery. If he kills again, somebody needs to shut SeaWorld down.

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)

© Bryan Fischer


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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