Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Put Them Out of Their Misery

This is a bit disheartening, but not surprising.

Large whales that strand themselves should be killed, as any attempts to save them are probably futile and likely to cause more suffering, according to animal welfare specialists.

The reason?

Without the support of the surrounding seawater, their weight damages their muscles, releasing stores of damaging myoglobin into the bloodstream.Myoglobin is a protein essential for oxygen transport while the whales are submerged, but it is also toxic to the kidneys.

According to the autopsy data from the ZSL (Zoological Society of London), once the whales have been stranded for an hour, the renal damage is already irreversible. Attempting to refloat the whales at this point only makes the situation worse, as it allows their blood to circulate more freely, carrying even more myoglobin into the kidneys.