Law Experts Publish on Morgan’s Legal Status

Three law experts; Arie Trouwborst, Richard Caddell and Ed Couzens, have recently had their peer-reviewed article published titled: To Free or Not to Free? State Obligations and the Rescue and Release of Marine Mammals: A Case Study of Morgan the Orca.

The Cambridge Journal Transnational Environmental Law , which has published the article, has kindly provided it free of charge to interested parties.  Documents such as these are normally sold to each individual who wishes to download it, so we are grateful to the Editors for helping Morgan in this way and allowing the greater public to be informed.

State Obligations and the Rescue and Release of Marine Mammals: A Case Study of ‘Morgan the Orca’

You can download the paper directly from their website.

The Abstract (summary) is reproduced here.  Of particular note is the final sentence, part of which we have bolded. Note that the emphasis is ours.

Wild animals periodically encounter difficulties or suffer injuries that require human intervention and assistance. The natural assumption is that a surviving animal will, where viable, be released back to the wild. But is there a formal legal obligation for a rescuer to do so? This question arose recently in the context of Morgan, a female killer whale rescued in poor health in Dutch waters. Morgan was successfully restored to full health, but the Dutch authorities subsequently declined to repatriate her to the wild and, controversially, transferred her to a zoological facility in Spain. This article examines the largely unexplored legal obligations incumbent upon the Netherlands in respect of rehabilitated cetaceans, in the process exposing certain problems of clarity and consistency within the present regulatory framework. By necessary implication, this article identifies emerging issues of interpretation posed by the Morgan saga, illustrating the tensions between animal welfare and nature conservation especially in the transboundary context and concluding firmly that the Dutch authorities erred legally in making their final decision.

We would like to also extend our thanks to the authors for providing insight into Morgan’s case. Their findings may well take the Free Morgan Foundation one step closer to achieving the goal of giving Morgan her chance at rehabilitation and release.

{ 7 comments }

  • Julie Iamarino March 23, 2013, 3:09 am

    Can you please tell me what is being done for Morgan now that the courts did not support his release? Are the other Orca’s at Loro Parque being considered for rescue? (Adan – 1 year, Keto – 16 years, Kohana 9 years, Skyla – 8yrs., Tekoa – 11 years). Besides signing petitions and donating, is there a way I can help?
    Thak you,
    Julie Iamarino

    Reply
  • MrBrown April 26, 2013, 5:58 pm

    Interesting question Julie. Besides the petitions (Cousteau or change.org) and the occasional fund raising, I find little continued effort. Are there any actions planned in the near future?

    Unrelated topic, I remember reading somewhere on this site I think, a statement claiming that Morgan didn’t have hearing issues after all.
    Since Loro Parque has been quite successfully influencing public opinions claiming the opposite, it would be nice to be able to cite some sources in future discussions.

    Thanks,
    Brown

    http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6122/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8017

    Reply
  • Agnes April 26, 2013, 11:51 pm

    Dear Sam..congratulation..!!
    LATEST WINNER – Apr 25, 2013 Sam Simon – €25,000
    Free Morgan

    Reply
  • Debbie April 27, 2013, 12:57 pm

    Congratulations on your win, Sam, and thank you for your efforts to free Morgan. Morgan’s freedom is very important to a lot of people!

    Reply
  • Helena August 5, 2013, 4:46 pm

    I find it both absurd and obscene that human beings can justify the imprisonment of an animal, whose brain is so much bigger than ours, under the auspices of improving the animals help. Well done to all the people who have contributed their time, money, or just their signatures to this cause. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Good luck, you’re doing a great job.

    Reply
  • Helena August 5, 2013, 4:47 pm

    I find it both absurd and obscene that human beings can justify the imprisonment of an animal, whose brain is so much bigger than ours, under the auspices of improving the animals health. Well done to all the people who have contributed their time, money, or just their signatures to this cause. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Good luck, you’re doing a great job.

    Reply

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