We all remember the outrage that happened a few years back with the release of the controversial documentary, "Blackfish". For many of us, it was our first exposure to the Horrors the take place behind closed doors. For others, it was a breath of fresh air and the spark of hope for change. And until now, I was hoping it might have made all the difference - and in many ways it has. But, there are still those out there who will take no action, and simply hide behind a different flavor of excuse. These highly intelligent animals, with parts of the brain that even humans lack, are still being kept in what is essentially, a glorified bathtub.

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Though SeaWorld has vowed not to obtain any new animals, there are still others out there that are keeping them hostage under the guise of "research."

A new flavor of excuse

While in the past, entertainment was the buzz word, with the negative connotation now associated with it and all it stands for, businesses have moved on to a new sheep cloak, research. An excuse perfected by the Japanese whaling industry for decades, Marineland at Antibes France, has now taken a page out of their book.

Just last month they taught one of their whales, Wikie, how to say "hello" and "goodbye." It's all the same story just with a different title - hoping to trick customers into ignoring these animals' cries for help.

A poignant distinction

Now it is important to acknowledge there is a big difference between research and "research." With species vanishing from the planet at an ever more alarming rate, there is definitely a call for research. And by that I mean, relevant and rigorous scientific research done in the name of divulging the behaviors of animals that might not be around for much longer.

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We need research that seeks to save the creatures in question, not to entertain the people who fund it. It is to my understanding that the above-mentioned "vocal training" was in the name of learning more about how these whales communicate with one another, and indeed mimic other species out in the wild. Now this is all fine and dandy, but I fail to see the relevance of then proceeding to teach Wikie how to say human phrases.

I fail to see how money that should be going towards saving these magnificent creatures can justifiably be re-directed into entertaining the park visitors.

I fail to see how this is taking a step in the right Direction. How are we ever going to come together to preserve what is left of our beautiful planet if every time someone takes a step forwards, another company tosses us a mile backward?

For many species, it will soon be too late, for others the time to act was yesterday, but for the killer whale, and many others just like them, it is not too late to act. But if we sit here and make excuses, if we play in the kiddy pool instead of taking to leap into the deep end, it will be too late.

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And this is not something that will happen centuries into the future, this is not something your great-great-great- (times ten) grandson will be responsible for, it will happen in your life times. It will happen in the next couple of decades, not the next hundred years. We have a chance to make a difference today, and I believe it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to do so.

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