It's pro-captivity comments are consistent with its stated mission of being "dedicated to protecting economic, property, and individual rights from the relentless expansion of government power." The public interest in Lolita's welfare is clearly not consistent with its stated mission.
The PLF suggests, "If members of a species in the wild disappear while regulated under the ESA at the same time that privately-owned members thrive without regulation, this wouldn’t be evidence that the privately owned members should be regulated. It would suggest, rather, that private ownership is superior to regulation."
The suggestion that privately-owned members would thrive without regulation demonstrates an ignorance in the overwhelming scientific evidence regarding the harmful and even fatal effects of captivity on such privately owned members.
To suggest that no regulation is superior to regulation is laughable. Had Washington State not restricted the capture of Southern Resident Killer Whales through its regulations, this endangered species would have likely become extinct years ago.
The PLF also suggests that, "When animals are privately owned, the owner has a financial incentive to ensure that they survive and propagate."
However, the financial incentive of private ownership is not rooted in the public trust doctrine or environmental stewardship; instead, it is the product of commercial exploitation, measured by ticket revenue generated at the gate.
If Lolita were no longer able to perform, whether through regulation or not, she would no longer generate sufficient revenue to feed this financial incentive. The propagation of a captive endangered species whose captive-born progeny would in turn be subsequently harmed by the act of captivity also feeds this financial incentive.
The PLF suggests that "Private ownership is an important means of preventing species extinction."
However, the on-going market demand for captive killer whales and dolphins, originally created by the likes of the Miami Seaquarium and SeaWorld, and the subsequent commercial exploitation of these animals through private ownership was a significant contributor to Southern Resident Killer Whales becoming endangered in the first place.
Today is the last day to provide comments in favor of granting legal protection for Lolita, the sole living survivor of the Southern Resident Killer Whale captures.