A Plea for Help! Morgan the Orca’s Day in Court is 8-3-2011. Will it be Too Late?
Typically at The Orca Project we don't solicit funding or donations, however, today is a different case. We are sending out an all points bulletin and plead for donations for Orkacoalitie.nl and her legal fees. You can go to their CrowdFundingPage and donate there. Currently, the legal team and association are shy around €13,00o Euros, or $18,500 US dollars. We are asking that you donate anything and everything you can to this very time sensitive request. Her case will be in court, tomorrow, August 3, 2011. Below we have posted a letter from her attorney and comments straight out of Free Morgan, as well as Ingrid Visser's, of Orca Research Trust, report. <-- Click here.
“A court case is being held tomorrow – Aug 3 – with regards to Morgan the orca currently held in the Netherlands. CITES has granted a permit for this young female to be moved to Loro Parque, Spain. Groups/individuals are trying to stop this transfer. Dr Ingrid Visser/ Terry M. Hardie have written a report on why this whale is a good candidate for release, it can be found at this link.”
Urgent plea we received from Free Morgan, "We have the court hearing this Wednesday, the 3rd of August. Strangely enough, the ministry has accepted the request to transport Morgan to Tenerife a few days ago, didn't even wait for the hearing. To us this shows just how corrupt and tight the connections between the Dolfinarium and the Ministry are... Our lawyer has already appealed against this permit, and there is a very good chance this permit has to be revoked. We are filing the suit against the ministry, and we hope the judge will see that the way things have gone just aren't right. Our lawyer really feels that we stand a good chance in this case, I will copy-paste a letter he wrote at the end of this email...
The attorney wrote this letter because the legal fees have risen tremendously, and we are now €13K euros short! It’s just so frustrating, if we stop now because of lack of funding, ALL our work as well as that of all the people in the Free Morgan Group will have been in vain! ~ Free Morgan.
Letter from Free Morgan’s Attorney:There are some developments in the Morgan case we thought you would beinterested in. We have also added a request related to our current legalcosts at the end of this email, which we hope you are able to consider.
It turns out (not totally unexpected) that the place where thedolphinarium wants to move Morgan to, Loro Parque on Tenerife, has 4 Killer Whales on display which are owned by SeaWorld. There is a long history of mis-management, withholding of proper care to the animals and hiring of ‘unqualified’trainers. We are in contact with Suzanne M. Allee, a former employee ofthe center who has become a whistle blower on the issues at Loro Parque.This also links in with previous legal cases taken on by Naomi Rose whofought the case for the orca’s at the facility from the US. It isbecoming clear that the location at Loro Parque might only be atemporary one for Morgan as nothing stands in the way of SeaWorld takingher and/or her newborns to another facility in the US, as they have donewith other animals from this facility in the past.
We currently have a number of people working all hours to prepare forthe court case. Ingrid Visser is still in The Netherlands and workingflat-out to prepare for an appeal which will be submitted by Monday aswell as for the full lawsuit which will be before the courts on 3rdAugust. I have attached the final version of Ingrid’s report. Our lawyerhas also been working over-time and through the weekend to get us readyfor the case. The scale of the case in relation to internationaltreaties, regulations and Dutch law makes it especially quite unique andrequired the law firm to do extensive additional research.
Jean Michel Cousteau has also voiced his support for the campaign and heis expected to go public with this (and talk with media about thecampaign) next week. A growing number of marine scientists, includingPaul Spong, Howard Garrett, Naomi Rose, Susan Berta, Michael Kundu andthe WDCS, have all sent letters of recommendation to our legal team inresponse to Ingrid’s report.
It seems unlikely but there is a theoretical possibility that theMinistry decides not to wait for the court proceedings and a judge’sruling on the matter and issue a permit next week regardless. This couldmean that there are a number of days where the dolphinarium will havethe opportunity to move her out of the country before a judge is able toblock it. The strange thing is that how things stand at the moment, thiswould be outrageous but the dolphinarium wouldn’t be breaking Dutch lawin doing so.
To ensure this does not happen we have a large network of activists fromaround the country as well as Germany and Belgium to come to thedolphinarium as soon as there are any signs of them preparing fortransport. We currently have local activists spotting at the facilitynumerous times a day and an ‘alarm list’ is in place to ensure a swiftresponse. We will then attempt to block the transport for as long as wecan while our legal team and lawyer correspond with the local counciland police commander to stop the transport from happening until the casehas come before a judge.
The media attention is already gathering pace in the run-up to the casegoing to court. A major TV network will be broadcasting a program thisTuesday with an exclusive interview from Ingrid as well as others. Themain Dutch press agency has issued two separate stories this week alone,which have been picked up and published by every major newspaper in thecountry. The interesting thing is that most journalists tell us that thedolphinarium is fed up and unwilling to cooperate with any further mediarequests about Morgan. In a recent interview the spokesperson of thedolphinarium stated that they are getting very tired with the activiststaking up all their time and they kindly requested that the OrcaCoalition would refrain from seeking the injunction and starting thelawsuit.
The campaign has come a very long way and we are confident that this isone of the best opportunities a captive orca has ever had of regainingher freedom thanks to the tireless effort of both activists andscientists, working together in an effective campaign.
In recent weeks (with our legal team working overtime) our legal costshave risen and we are now with a €13,000 deficit to our legal/campaigncosts. If there would be a possibility to request a contributionfrom …………………………… towards these costs, it wouldbe much appreciated. We hope to hear from you.—————————————————————
Please go to http://www.freemorgan.nl/ and click on the donation button, which takes you to PayPal, where you can send money. Please send whatever you can. Please do it now. Your money will be used immediately to help cover the legal costs of opposing the CITES permit to export Morgan to Spain (Lora Parque in Tenerife, i.e. Sea World) which the Harderwijk Dolfinarium now holds in its hands. This may well be a last chance for Morgan to avoid permanent captivity. Sea World is giddy with the opportunity it has to expand its genetic "breeding" pool.
Again, we ask that you can do what you can, and thank you from The Orca Project.————————————————————————————————UPDATE on Morgan! “Morgan is to stay at the dolphinarium until more evidence/research is done – good news from the judge. Its not ideal that she has to stay in such a small tank however, but for the moment, she’s not facing a life in captivity.” ~ Marine Connection. ~That being said, we need to still ask that you donate what you can to her legal fund. This fight is far from over. And until she gets rehabilitated and her family is found, this saga will continue.