Keiko Killed by Good Intentions

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As all the world knows, Keiko, the killer whale who starred in the movie Free Willy has died. After a concerted worldwide campaign, Keiko, was "freed" two years ago from the Mexican Seaquarium. Keiko never adapted to life in the wild; he still expected people to feed him. And why not? That's how he'd earned his living for nearly 20 years–do a trick, get a fish.

As The Little Prince learned from the fox: "Men have forgotten this truth…. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." Succumbing to romantic notions about the "wild," the people in charge of Keiko forgot their responsibility to him. Keiko should have had a comfortable retirement in a nice aquarium instead of dying of pneumonia in an isolated Norwegian fjord.

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  1. I disagree. Though I certainly don’t believe animals are equal to humans as far as intelligence, there are things we have in common (in fact, we are basically socially/intellectually evolved animals). We have a basic desire to be free. I would rather die in an isolated fjord then in a cage.

    Along the same lines, I am very uncomfortable with the notion of wild animals being used for entertainment. There are too many situations where circus animals get out of control. Surprise surprise.. they are only doing what they were built to do. That tiger freak in Las Vegas worked with the beasts for many years, and got chomped. Was this an accident? I think not. It was only a matter of time.

  2. Here come the welfare state comparisons…

  3. So, let me get this straight: Keiko was ill-suited to the wild, and had an owner who didn’t mind caring for him. He even performed a profitable function to pay for his care (i.e. he entertained visitors to the aquarium). But it was deemed more humane to take him away from the only life he knew.

    Reminds me of how my grandmother killed my grandfather by moving from the farm (where he’d lived for 80+ years) to a retirement community. When removed from his natural habitat his already frail health deteriorated almost overnight.

  4. How about an Iraq comparison? I don’t think we should have invaded, but now we have some responsibilities.

  5. I understand he was fed by locals and even had some degree of protection in the fjord from the greater ocean, though he was free to roam if he wanted.
    yes, he was tamed and not fit for a truly wild life anymore, but it seemed like at least the locals were trying to make some sort of balance for the beautiful and intelligent animal.

  6. Von Mises said…oh, never mind.

  7. How about an Iraq comparison? I don’t think we should have invaded, but now we have some responsibilities.

    here here — though we can hardly be said to have tamed anything there.

  8. Didn’t anyone ask the whale first? How arrogant.

  9. Tsk, tsk. They buried him on land, and with so many starving Eskimos in the world…

  10. Eskimos hell-

    Do you know how much his corpse would have fetched in Japan?

    Though I suppose you could use the yen earned to buy food for Eskimos (if you must…)

  11. Sir Real:
    My mouth waters as visions of 3-mile-wide sushi platters dance in my head.

  12. They should have known. Keiko loved too much and what is love except captivity of a noble sort? He remained captive to his love, and like so man, died for it.

  13. I dunno, Mr. Nice Guy … I wasn’t evolved to sit in a cube all day programming this computer, but it’s not that unpleasant and at the end of the day, I can buy fish.

    Just don’t throw me into the wild; I wouldn’t last a week.

  14. WTF?

  15. If you work in a cube I suggest buying a fish taco at Baja Fresh at the end of the day. They’re pretty tasty.

    As far as being thrown into the wild.. when I was in the boy scouts years ago, I was much more afraid of the other scouts then bears. It was like the Lord of the Flies.. I kid you not.

  16. What is the point of being NOT weishaupt? Just curious.

  17. Slave the whales!

  18. “I don’t think whales were built to stay in glass containers.”

    What precisely, then, were whales built for? High fuel efficiency, perhaps?

  19. “He even performed a profitable function to pay for his care (i.e. he entertained visitors to the aquarium).”

    I’m a bit uncomfortable with that. I don’t think whales were built to stay in glass containers, and I don’t think wild animals should be taken out of their natural element purely for “entertainment” purposes.

    Throughout history, human slaves provided a “profitable function”. There’s no doubt in my mind that some slaves were treated well by their captors. It doesn’t make it right. I’m a proud, card-carrying libertarian, but I think some things transcend economics.

    “They should have known. Keiko loved too much and what is love except captivity of a noble sort? He remained captive to his love, and like so man, died for it.”

    WTF indeed. It doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s brilliant.

  20. Is Keiko a “him”? Keiko is a female name in Japan.

  21. Reminds me of the later look at the lions
    from the movie Born Free.

    I let my house cat out one night,
    and I haven’t seen her since.

    Would have been nice if the children of the world
    would not have been told this news, I thought,
    but then again, maybe they’ll figure out,
    movies aren’t real life — they’re just pretend,
    just pretending life is the way we wish it was,
    or just pretending it is worse than it is.

    At least the Freed Willy wasn’t hit by the prop
    of a giant oil tanker. That would have created yet one more sequel.

  22. KJ: I do this to differentiate myself from Weishaupt, should he ever decide to post on H&R. See also the Merovingian. Or just google it

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