Dear Mr. Faulconer,
I understand your stance on SeaWorld in that it promotes tourism and therefore boosts the economy here in San Diego. I also understand that SeaWorld does engage in helpful actions for conservation here in our community, such as encouraging beach clean-ups and educating the youth on how vital a role the oceans play in keeping us and other species alive.
However, that does not excuse the fact that they are enslaving beings with cognitive abilities comparable to or better than our own (Study). It does not excuse the fact many cetaceans never get to taste their true and natural environment. It does not excuse the fact that they are credited to bringing the Southern Resident Killer Whale population near extinction when they captured orcas in Puget Sound back in the 70s. The population has not been able to recover because of this, yet SeaWorld claims it is a big mystery and their research benefits them. And it most certainly does not excuse the fact SeaWorld has not said a word or done anything to push the slaughters in Taiji or elsewhere in the world to stop when they could be leading the way in protecting cetaceans in the wild. They could ask WAZA and IMATA to outlaw the taking of and slaughtering of dolphins in Taiji, which, as Japanese citizens themselves have stated, is not tradition.
I am not asking for SeaWorld to be shut down completely, but the way things are going that is inevitable unless they push for change and radical reform. They have had many chances to do this, but they have not listened. Instead, SeaWorld has done what corporations do best when they are going under - distract and mislead the public.
There are certainly economic alternatives than what SeaWorld currently brings, such as promoting the whale watching industry, with protection ensured for wild cetaceans and the marine environment, and displaying the beautiful coastline of San Diego. The cetaceans currently held in SeaWorld can be released into sea pens on the coast, where the public can still pay and access, as long as the cetaceans are not trained to perform or entertain. Furthermore, keeping cetaceans in captivity is not necessary. Look at the Birch Aquarium, or the Monterrey Aquarium. Neither hold cetaceans on display and do a solid job in advocating for conservation and attracting tourists.
Seeing cetaceans in captivity may seem educational at first glance as killer whales cannot be seen on a regular basis in San Diego. However this experience can still be provided if cetaceans are released into sea pens where they can live in their natural environment and still be cared for, since most have no experience in the wild.
Teaching my generation, the youth, that it is okay to enslave (yes this term does apply) sentient beings under the guise of education and conservation is simply remarkable. I was always taught growing up that slavery had ended and was immoral, even if it economically shaped the country. Does not the same belief apply here?
Cetaceans deserve their rights and California is starting to step up to the plate and deliver them. Malibu recently declared a Proclamation of Cetacean Rights and Assemblymember Richard Bloom recently proposed the "Orca Welfare and Safety Act," as I am sure you have heard of by now.
I, and all of the people attached in the petition from change.org (signatures are still being collected), ask that you - and the rest of California - pass legislation making these laws official and protecting cetaceans in the wild.
If passed, it will promote San Diego to the growing population that's inevitably turned against SeaWorld, as well as in the media. It will be a huge step in spreading the ideals of conservation and freedom,terms that have been forgotten and misused so many times in history. This is no different than slavery in the south, we are discriminating and profiting off of a species that possesses language and lives in complex societies for money. No matter the benefit it is morally and spiritually wrong.
I hope we are able to look pass the barriers of money and property and let cetaceans live their lives in the ocean where they belong. The captive industry may have had its benefits back when they were harpooning mothers and kidnapping their children to expose how we should protect the ocean in the 70s, but our society has grown and learned again from our mistakes. The real goal of Shamu jumping at the show is to bring in customers and only advocates slavery and exploitation of our natural environment under the guise of education and conservation. And people know it now.
SeaWorld is bound to fall if they do not change, our economy and credibility as a city most likely going down with it. But we can change for the better. We can recognize cetaceans as non-human persons and give them the natural rights we should not even have to fight for, especially in the 21st century.
Please do the right thing. The world is waiting. Your city is waiting. End military and seismic testing that harms cetaceans. Let them pass freely and safely through our waters. Let mothers and their children finally swim without worrying about human interference. End the captive breeding program and let the captive population live the rest of their lives in their natural environment, and if captured, returned to their families if possible.
It is time for change. It is sad basic rights like freedom and life still have to be fought for. Why can't we learn from the history of our nation? We advocated to escape from Britain's oppression and ever since have played a large role in dealing it under the guise of democracy and somehow bettering the world, even as true as some ideals may be.
But, there is still much more than glory, gold and property (changed the last one).