Exclusively for zoos.media – 26.04.2019. Author: Philipp J. Kroiß
One Green Planet: Turning lies into business
Many people and companies try to make money with lies about animals and feigned compassion – much like One Green Planet and its affiliate companies. This first site mainly publishes obsequious reporting for the animal rights industry, and barely manages to produce any articles without pointless clickbait. The creative use of the truth, to put it mildly, is an inherent part of this dubious business model. They now want to shut down Loro Parque and send the animals into sanctuaries.
The trick behind it all
Naturally, these demands are ridiculous. No petition in the world can impel Wolfgang Kiessling, Founder and President of Loro Parque, to shut down the modern zoo in Tenerife – the best zoo in the world, according to TripAdvisor. Moreover, sanctuaries that could accommodate the animals in the event of an incident do not even exist. If you just think through the demand, you will quickly come to realise that something about it is off.
Even One Green Planet will know how absurd these demands are, and yet they make them anyway. But why? It is actually not about the animals but about user data. For the signature to count, this data must be provided on the petition site Care2. The user data is then used as part of a business model: sponsors can use the data for advertising purposes, and Care2 uses the data to optimise advertising on its website for advertising partners.
Care2’s product is its users, whom they bring to the respective company or NGO (that is using the service) as new supporters. You can roughly imagine this as follows, i.e. if Facebook were to sell off or place the data it collects directly at the disposal of its customers for them to later use. However, for Care2 to acquire this data and later sell it, a sensational cause is needed – which One Green Planet can provide with its deceitful articles.
Parade of lies
The first lie in Sharon Vega’s article was debunked by us several months ago: Social Beaching Play – a completely normal behaviour in orcas – was misinterpreted as a suicide attempt. This shows that One Green Planet knows very little about animals – but of course a story like that is useful to gather data, because many people are actually impressed by it.
We spoke to an expert about the topic:
It got really absurd when they made the claim that Morgan never became a part of the group at Loro Parque. She is excellently integrated, has her position in the hierarchy, and is now even a mother. All this would be impossible were she not integrated into the group. They even fantasised about a zoochosis – which has never been diagnosed in Morgan or any other whale at Loro Parque for that matter.
Then it got even more abstruse: The male Keto supposedly wanted to hurt himself by eating paint. Even if he wanted to do that, he could not do so at Loro Parque. The animals do not even have the theoretical possibility to eat paint. When the tanks are painted, they are emptied for a short period of time and are, of course, only filled back up when everything has dried. These claims are just nonsensical.
The tales about Keto went further. He supposedly has a history of aggression, and the tragic death of a trainer was used as proof. The trainer died in an accident, and Keto still shows no signs of aggression against anyone. He is also the first orca to meet new trainers, and to then work with them for a very long time. The massive orca bull is considered to be sociable and good-natured.
Without any knowledge of the context, they uploaded a short scene from an age-old video of an endoscopy. At the time the video was filmed, Keto was undergoing a prophylactic endoscopic examination. To his protection, he had a piece of wood with a hole placed in his mouth, through which a camera was introduced. The process of removing the camera is an unfamiliar feeling for the animal, and it responds with a short defensive reaction that can be seen in the video.
Before this, Keto, who was quite young at the time, kept still for several minutes, and the veterinarians could easily determine that everything was fine in his gastrointestinal tract. Incidentally, all the orcas at Loro Parque have been trained so well as part of the Medical Training that they play along well in most medical exams today. Keto endured the entire endoscopic examination – which is known to be unpleasant also for humans – really well. He had no other health problems afterwards either, so it turned out that he is perfectly healthy.
These are only a few of the lies in the article, but the scam is clear: One Green Planet lies and tells sob stories that have nothing to do with reality. But then of course the truth would not be beneficial to their business model. This business model consists precisely in not telling the truth and instead in gathering data by convincing people to sign a ridiculous petition.
It is crucial to understand that One Green Planet and Care2 are not trying to accurately inform about the animals at Loro Parque, but that they are greedy for data to turn into money. This can be found very, very frequently within the animal rights industry: organisations campaign for people to sign ineffective petitions to gather data that can then be used to make money or generate donations.
This is not animal protection, it is using the pretext of animal protection to do nasty business that ultimately harms reputable animal welfarists and conservation – which Loro Parque is known to have committed to exemplarily!