Despite their contributions to marine conservation, SeaWorld is in the middle of a growing controversy that has led bands to cancel performances and celebrities to bash the seemingly benign marine park.
But there is something more sinister going on behind the gilded curtain. Cetaceans, one of the smartest animals on the planet, are confined in tanks one one-thousandth of the distance they swim in the wild. They are trained to perform behaviors that merely imitate their true magnificence in the wild. It is for these reasons among others that SeaWorld fails to achieve their important assertion of education and conservation of the marine world.
SeaWorld fails to speak out against the dolphin slaughters in Taiji, Japan, although they no longer import dolphins from the infamous killing cove. By luring other aquariums into a profitable industry, SeaWorld is responsible for the slaughter. Trainers are sent into Taiji to select dolphins best suited for captivity, while the rest are left behind and slaughtered by fishermen. The methods used are illegal even by Japanese law. Yet SeaWorld still remains silent when it could voice its love for cetaceans, or so it claims.
According to CBS News, SeaWorld has been cited multiple times for polluting Mission Bay. Kind of sounds hypocritical for them to promote conservation when they fail to speak out against one of the largest dolphin slaughters in the world and decrease local water quality, isn’t it?
The cruelty cetaceans undergo within the concrete walls of SeaWorld has resulted in multiple animal welfare violations.
According to the NOAA and Orca Network, orcas live far shorter in captivity than they do in the wild, rarely living over the age of 25. They are trapped in a small, confined environment facing extreme stress.
To counter this, they are given Tagamet and other medications with their daily diet. Yet SeaWorld claims their whales are healthy and happy.
It is no wonder these magnificent creatures, who have only attacked a human in one instance in the wild, have attacked their trainers in over 110 instances. They are psychologically distressed.
Orkid, one of the captive-born orcas at SeaWorld San Diego, has attacked trainers on multiple occasions. According to The Vindicator, she had to watch her mother, Kandu V, die when she was less than a year old. Kandu attempted to rake Corky II and fractured her jaw and severed several arteries. For weeks after her mother's death, Orkid circled around the pool, calling out and vocalizing in distress. Yet the crowd, unaware of the tradegy, claps and cheers louder than ever.
The movie Blackfish has finally exposed the psychological torment killer whales and all cetaceans suffer in captivity and has kindled an international controversy.
SeaWorld should not be closed down completely, for they are essential to local economy, but change their business model and remove cetaceans from captive display.