Skip to main content

11th Circuit Weighs in on Lolita Miami Seaquarium Controversy!


I bet you woke up this morning and asked:  what does the 11th Circuit think about the whole Lolita Miami Seaquarium "killer whale" controversy?

Well now you know:

Actually, this is pretty interesting history:
Lolita is a 20-feet long, 7000 pound Orcinus orca held in captivity at Seaquarium. In 1970, Ted Griffin, the first person to swim with an orca in a public exhibition, captured Lolita in Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove, off the coast of Washington State. Lolita was approximately three to six years old and a member of the Southern Resident L Pod. Seaquarium purchased Lolita, and she has lived there since September 24, 1970. Lolita performs each day in an event called the “Killer Whale and Dolphin Show.”

Lolita lives in a tank which is surrounded by stadium seating. The stadium covering leaves Lolita exposed to ultraviolet radiation as she floats along the water’s surface. As sunscreen, Seaquarium applies a black-colored zinc oxide on Lolita’s skin. The effect of this sunscreen on Lolita’s physiology is unknown. ALDF alleges Seaquarium’s failure to provide Lolita with adequate sun cover violates 9 C.F.R. § 3.103(b)’s requirement to afford adequate protection from the weather or direct sunlight to marine animals kept outdoors.

Lolita’s tank is oblong-shaped with a 5 feet 2 inches wide, crescent-shaped concrete platform that extends from the bottom of the tank through the surface of the water. Lolita’s trainers stand on this platform during her performances. Her tank measures 80 feet by 60 feet. The concrete platform leaves an unobstructed circular pool of 80 feet by 35 feet. ALDF alleges Lolita’s tank is smaller than the 48 feet minimum horizontal standard permitted by agency regulation. See id. § 3.104(b) (providing cetaceans in captivity must be given a pool of water with a minimum horizontal dimension of at least “two times the average adult length” of the species).

Orcas are primarily social in the wild and travel in large groups. Lolita has not interacted with another orca since Hugo, who was also captured off the coast of Washington State, died in March 1980. Lolita instead shares her tank with Pacific white-sided dolphins.
Bottom line -- go to Congress (that will work out great!):
As long as USDA refuses to initiate a discretionary enforcement proceeding, the remedy ALDF and Lolita’s legion of supporters seek lies not in the federal courts, but in the halls of Congress. Our democratically elected leaders alone have the authority to limit USDA’s license-renewal discretion in this matter and to demand annual, substantive compliance with animal welfare standards. While we are sensitive to the plight of Lolita and other animals exhibited across this country, we cannot say USDA violated the AWA by renewing Seaquarium’s license through its purely administrative scheme. For the foregoing reasons, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to USDA.
They even held their nose!

UPDATE:

 

Comments

  1. Don't jail the whale. Free Lolita! She is spending her life in the equivalent of supermax solitary. It is a crime of horrible evil that this innocent creature has been captured and forced to dance for her food for almost 50 years.

    Miami trivia - Who was Hugo the killer whale named after ? A true miami native.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

My Kind of Federal Judge!

Sure we have Scott Rothstein and his lovely Tom James clothier Romina Sifuentes, but Louisiana has ED LA judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr.:
A federal judge from Louisiana who had run up big gambling debts routinely solicited money and gifts from lawyers with cases before his court, Congressional investigators said Tuesday as the House opened impeachment hearings in the judge’s case. The judge, G. Thomas Porteous Jr. of Federal District Court, had more than $150,000 in credit card debt by 2000, mostly for cash advances spent in casinos, investigators said. Judge Porteous’s requests for cash became so frequent that one New Orleans lawyer said he started trying to dodge the judge.“He began to use excuses that he needed it for tuition, he needed it for living expenses,” the lawyer, Robert Creely, told a House Judiciary Committee task force. “I would avoid him until I couldn’t avoid him anymore.”
Mr. Creely said he and his law partner, Jacob Amato, gave Judge Porteous an estimated $20,000 o…

Honoring Richard C. Seavey

I drank a shit-ton of bourbon last night. Enough to float a battleship.

My head hurts. But not as much as my heart.

We lost another lawyer over the weekend. Not someone who will receive facebook accolades and other public claims of friendship and statements that he shaped and changed lives and careers. Just a guy who did the best he could with what he had. Every day. And he did very, very well to be the best person he could be. 
Richard Seavey was a profoundly private person. In his 49 years, he walked through more than his share of trials and tribulations, mostly asking for no help, leaning on no one. 

Richard was a fantastic lawyer. He could try a case. He could "litigate" a case. He could mediate and settle a case. He was nuanced. He bent but never broke. The blustery Miami lawyer never scared him. To the contrary, he found humor in it, studying it like a science project. Richard never got too high or too low. He was good at lawyering, but you got the f…

First Carnival Triumph Lawsuit on File!

It was filed in the SD FL (of course) and is pending before Judge Graham.

Check it out here.

The lawyer on the pleading is Marcus R. Spagnoletti.