SeaWorld has had a hard time of late, with the two years subsequent to the release of exposé ‘Blackfish’ spent trying to salvage it’s place in the public consciousness. These attempts have been several and not very varied, with the most recent coming on November 9th in the form of phasing out theatrical Orca shows at their San Diego park and replacing them with ‘an all new Orca experience focused on [the] natural environment [of Orcas]’. This, paired with the recent announcement that breeding via forced masturbation has been banned in SeaWorld San Diego could give one the impression that there is a slow movement towards freedom for SeaWorld Orcas. But, this is misleading.
All of these announcements are attempts to combat SeaWorld’s falling visitor numbers (they were down 17% in the last year to 3.8 million) and stem the money the company is haemorrhaging (coincidentally it has lost half of it’s market value since ‘Blackfish’ was released). And if that isn’t enough evidence to show this ‘refocus on conservation’ is business rather than Orca focused, SeaWorld itself admitted that these changes are due to ‘listening to our guests’ (or just those who now view SeaWorld in a negative light) rather than actual concern for Orcas. Alas, these attempts at appease those whose eyes have been opened by ‘Blackfish’ have been futile, with company CEO John Manby admitting ‘activists aren’t going to be pleased with anything we do’.
Wait, I have an idea what would please this particular activist- stop the PR stunts and release the Orcas back to the wild. Rebranding as ‘conservation’ when Orcas are kept in tanks that relative to humans would be 9.5m x 5.7m x 2.1m is inhumanity of the worst degree. In the wild Orcas swim upwards of one hundred miles a day and are highly emotionally intelligent, but at SeaWorld they spend their time listlessly floating rather than communicating with their pod. Conservation is ensuring Orcas have everything available to them so that they can lead fulfilling lives, not keeping them alive but living a half-life.
Keeping Orcas in captivity is heartless, and constant rebranding cannot change this. Orcas have never killed someone in the wild, but they have in captivity, Orcas have only been aggressive towards one person in the wild, but towards over one hundred in captivity. Take the hint SeaWorld- captivity kills. Listen to the mass of voices speaking out because Orcas can’t. Release them and their trapped minds; cut your losses, stop trying to kid the public, we are intelligent and so are Orcas. Free them and their tortured minds.