SeaWorld describes themselves-We are a leading theme park and entertainment company that blends imagination with nature and enables our guests to explore, inspire, and act.
Reality: Captivity is no Fun for animals
The controversy surrounding marine mammal captivity has intensified since the premiere of the documentary Blackfish in 2013.
Tilikum—the “star” of Blackfish, the damning documentary about SeaWorld’s cruel practice of tearing wild orcas away from their families and then breeding them in captivity—is dead, following decades of exploitation in the marine-mammal abusement industry.
He was taken from his ocean home and confined to a small cement cell 100 million times smaller than the home range that he would have lived in if he’d remained free. He was not only forced to perform meaningless tricks for food . His human captors dishonestly called him part of their “family,” even though a family doesn’t kidnap its members from their rightful mothers, keep them in a tiny and barren space for their entire life, and exploit them for decades in order to make money. But SeaWorld was forced to admit that he had been sick and now that he has died. No matter the cause—and no one knows yet—his death was the culmination of a miserable lifetime of confinement.
Conveniently, SeaWorld didn’t opt to disclose the number of animals in their care that have died from pneumonia, influenza, encephalitis, fungal infection and heart failure. Not to mention the animals that have died in their care at unnaturally young ages.
Similarly, when questioned on their “Ask SeaWorld” page as to why they have not publicly shunned the dolphin drives in Taiji or intervened, they claimed that while they are opposed to the hunts shown in The Cove, they have not made an attempt to help the animals killed during the drives since the 1980s because they, “didn’t want to be a party to it.”
SeaWorld finally ended its sordid orca-breeding program—which has since been made illegal in California—but this action does nothing for the 23 orcas, more than 100 other dolphins and whales, and many other animals who are suffering in the company's tanks right now. And it does nothing for the nearly 40 orcas, more than 300 other dolphins and whales, and approximately 450 seals, sea lions, and walruses—along with countless smaller animals—who have died on its watch.
Now, SeaWorld must open its tanks and release the long-suffering animals into seaside sanctuaries—where they would live in large areas of the ocean while benefiting from human care for as long as they might need—so that they can have some semblance of a life outside prison tanks.
The only thing that people learn from visiting a SeaWorld theme park is how miserable life is for the animals confined there. Children see mere shadows of animals, defeated beings who can't engage in natural behavior or live as nature intended. Marine parks teach the wrong lesson: that it's acceptable to imprison animals, deprive them of freedom of movement, forbid them the chance to establish natural territory and explore, breed and group them as we—not they—please, and watch them go insane from frustration and loneliness.
Help all the animals imprisoned by SeaWorld today by asking the company to establish a firm and rapid plan to release them into sanctuaries where they'll be given some semblance of the natural life that they've been denied for so long.
Urge USDA and SeaWorld to close all SeaWorld Parks and release all animals to a Sea Sanctuary.
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