Joe Rogan called out SeaWorld’s treatment of dolphins and whales and he makes a great point.

The 2013 documentary "Blackfish" shined a light on the cruelty that orcas face in captivity and created a sea change in the public's perception of SeaWorld and other marine life parks.

This "Blackfish" backlash nearly deep-sixed SeaWorld and led Canada to pass a law that bans oceanariums from breeding whales and dolphins or holding them in captivity. Animals currently being held in Canada's marine parks are allowed to remain as well as those taken in for rehabilitation.

Podcaster and MMA announcer Joe Rogan saluted Canada's decision on a recent episode.

"First of all, what assholes are we that we have those goddman things in captivity? A big fucking shout out to Canada because Canada, mostly probably through the noise that my friend Phil Demers has created in trying to get MarineLand shut down, Canada has banned all dolphin and all whale captivity. It's amazing. I hope the United States does it well, I hope it goes worldwide," Rogan told his guest, economist and mathematician Eric Weinstein.


Rogan has been a big anti-captivity advocate and frequently has Phil Demers, a former walrus trainer at MarineLand in Canada, on his show to discuss animal abuses at marine parks.

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"I think it's slavery, I really do," Rogan said of whale captivity. "I think it's a different kind of slavery."

While some may be taken aback by Rogan's use of the term "slavery" to describe non-humans, he makes a compelling point. There is a long history of research on dolphins that shows they rival humans, intelligence-wise. As for orcas, "If anything, since orcas are the largest member of the dolphin family, their intelligence is perhaps superior to other dolphins," Lori Marino, a Emory University neuroscientist, told NBC News.

And, like slaves, they are held captive and forced to work for someone making a considerable profit.

Two orcas that have been enslaved the longest are Lolita and Corky, both in captivity for around 50 years.

Lolita is a female orca at Miami Seaquarium who lives in a tank so pitifully small, it would now be deemed illegal. She's been held in captivity since 1970 when she shared the tank with Hugo, a male orca. Hugo died in 1980 in an apparent suicide after bashing his head against the walls of the tank.

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via Piotr Domanradski / Wikimedia Commons Hugo's carcass being removed from the tank in 1980.

Corky was first captured and put on display at Marineland in California in 1969. Shortly before that park's closure in 1987, she was sold to SeaWorld and has lived there ever since.

Throughout her time in confinement, Corky gave birth to six calves, all sired by her cousin and tankmate, Orky. None of them survived. Orky died in 1988.

via Bryce Bradford / Flickr


The Great Whales - Corky's First Calf www.youtube.com

Rogan hopes the U.S. will wise up and put an end to whale and dolphin captivity, but will it ever happen?

In 2016, the state of California banned orca shows for entertainment purposes and breeding of captive orcas. Since, SeaWorld San Diego's shows have become more educational in nature.

In 2015, California Congressman Adam Schiff proposed legislation that would prohibit breeding of captive orcas and prevent wild capture for the purpose of display. The act would ultimately phase out all orca captivity in the U.S. but has not seen much movement through Congress since its introduction.

Planet
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

There's a difference between dieting and being healthy, and often times, overattention to what you consume can lead to disordered eating. Eating disorders are dangerous and can affect anyone, but they're especially concerning in adolescents. Which is why WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is facing intense criticism for its new app, Kurbo, targeted toward kids ages eight to 17.

The app uses a traffic light system to tell kids which foods are a "green light" and can be eaten as much as they want, which foods are a "yellow light" and should be consumed with caution, and which "red light" foods they should probably avoid.

It seems like a simple system to teach kids what's good for them and what's not, but it regulates kids' diets in an unhealthy way. Gaining weight is a normal, healthy part of child development. Putting on a few pounds means your body is doing what it's supposed to do. While the app classifies foods with too much fat or calories as "red," children need to consume some of these foods to develop their brain.

WW is calling the app "common sense." As Gary Foster, the chief science officer of WW, puts it, items in the red foods category "aren't foods that should be encouraged in kids' diets, but they also shouldn't be vilified or demonized, and there has to be a system that's simple and science-based that highlights that so everyone in the family can understand."

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Well Being
via Ostdrossel / Instagram

Lisa is a lifelong bird enthusiast who goes by the name Ostdrossel on social media. A few years ago, the Germany native moved to Michigan and was fascinated by the new birds she encountered.

Upon arriving in the winter, she fell in love with the goldfinches, cardinals, and Blue Jays. Then in the spring, she was taken by the hummingbirds.

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Nature
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity