CLARK FREEPORT — The top executive of the marine park Ocean Adventure at Subic Freeport accused yesterday purported animal rights groups to stop “exploiting” the death of a false killer whale at the park for mere “fund-raising” motives.
“Groups like Earth Island Institute (EII) and Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), who do nothing directly beneficial for the cause of animal welfare, should stop using the natural death of a false killer whale for their fund-raising activities by seeking publicity,” said a statement issued yesterday by Timothy Desmond, Ocean Adventure chairman and CEO.
Desmond said the recent death of Tonka, a false killer whale and one of the original animals of Ocean Adventure, is “being exploited by these groups to get attention for themselves so they can make a profit.” EII and PAWS have been blaming Ocean Park for the death of Tonka, as they opposed captivity for such animals.
“We view them as engaging in a commercial venture, but not being honest about it. They should own up to that,” he added. EII announced last week that it would conduct a picket in front of the Bureau of Animal Industry in Quezon City to protest the death of the killer whale which they blamed on Ocean Park.
“They lobbied with the media to push hard to advance their agenda,” he said. Desmond lamented that “the only difference between us is that we actually deeply care about these animals, and we have allocated tremendous resources and expertise for the benefit, well-being, and welfare of our animals, unlike these groups.”
Ocean Adventure’s statement also said that “for many years, EII and PAWS have engaged in a campaign attacking the reputation of Ocean Adventure by deliberately making false claims and generating negative publicity against the company.”
“The truth is, these groups know next to nothing about these animals,” Desmond said, admitting that the two groups have caused Ocean Adventure some “economic damage.” Desmond also said that “the staff and officials of Ocean Adventure, are mourning the loss of a family member. Tonka grew up with my kids.
And my daughter knows more about Tonka, and cares more about Tonka, than all of these groups put together. And she is only six years old. “ Desmond said he and other officials of Ocean Adventure and its workers are slated to “hold a memorial for Tonka on site, demonstrating the affection the community had for the animal.”