SeaWorld’s Horrible Years

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An Orca

SeaWorld’s Horrible Years

In recent weeks, attention has been on incidents involving animals and young children. Disney and Orlando/Florida has been the focus of several incidents (see separate post).

While the world looks on at Orlando and Disney, SeaWorld must be keeping their fingers crossed that nothing will draw attention to them.

Thinking of buying their stock? Read this  first: SeaWorld Stock Price Still Down

What Freedom Looks like for Orcas at SeaWorld – By David Kirby

SeaWorld’s Orlando, Florida houses the infamous orca called Tilikum. A 12,000 pound orca/killer whale who has killed three people. The last one being his trainer, Dawn Brancheau, in 2010.

Her death was the straw that broke the camel’s back and set a series of events in motion.

  • David Kirby’s book “Death at SeaWorld” in 2012
  • Blackfish (documentary) in 2013
  • Major push by activists to free orcas using social media, blogs and groups on Facebook, Twitter etc.
  • Media attention leading to increased public awareness of the cruelty of keeping marine animals in captivity #CaptivityKills
  • Blackfish Bill passed in 2015
  • Blackfish Effect: SeaWorld’s stock prices fell 50% in 2014 due to poor ticket sales
  • SeaWorld’s CEO Jim Atchison `resigns’ in late 2014, meaning he was fired.

SeaWorld has lost my money as well. Every year here in Australia, I’ve gone to SeaWorld on the Gold Coast. In 2013 in my trip to the US, I went to SeaWorld San Diego. This was my first time to see live orcas up close. There are no orcas at SeaWorld, Gold Coast.

Then when I got home, I heard about Blackfish. Since then, I have boycotted SeaWorld and all other aquariums. It seems that I’m not the only one to care about marine animals.

Kidnapping animals at the age of 2 or 4 years old and tearing them away from their pods/families to be held captive in small tanks for the entertainment of humans, for 40 – 50 years (if they last that long) is just not right.

The fate of orcas in captivity

  • Tilikum: Kidnapped at age 2, he has spent 33 years in captivity.
  • Corky: Kidnapped at age 4 and has spent 46 years in captivity. SeaWorld, San Diego.
  • Lolita: Kidnapped at age 4 and has spent 46 years in captivity. At Miami Seaquarium.
  • Morgan: Born 2008. After her rescue, they refused to release her. She’s now at Loro Parque, Spain. Recently in desperation, she has beached herself after performances (suicide attempt). She’d rather kill herself than spend the rest of her life in a tank.

If CHILDREN had been kidnapped, kept in cages for the entertainment of their captors and used in breeding programs, people would be really upset and demand that they be set free. But no. It’s ok for marine animals because humans needed to be entertained.

Not any more. More people have woken up to the inhumaneness of this. Even children have said No to SeaWorld. Kids in school know about Tilikum and Blackfish.

Wikipedia: Killer whales in captivity

Wikipedia: List of captive orcas

Captivity is bad for business

It took SeaWorld long enough to see the writing on the wall and in March 2016 announced that it would stop the breeding of orcas. They had been using Tilikum’s sperm to impregnate female orcas. Without their consent. I doubt if Tilikum consented to his sperm to be taken from him to breed more orcas with his psychotic DNA.

Is this enough? Can people trust SeaWorld to do the right thing?

SeaWorld is still digging in their heels about releasing their 29 orcas to a suitable marine sanctuary.  This will cost them.

These animals have earned SeaWorld millions of dollars but there is no 401K for them to enjoy their retirement. They have to keep working, making money for SeaWorld. This is marine slavery.

These orcas (and other marine animals like dolphins) are likely to die in captivity unless people speak out for them.

Animals don’t have voices to speak out but we do.

X-files Gillian Anderson asked SeaWorld to release their orcas

People will not go back to SeaWorld until they do the right thing by their orcas. They said that it would be cruel to release them but how much more cruel is it to keep them against their will?

50 Years of Marine Mammals in Captivity

Activists and marine scientists have not given up. We will persevere until every orca is free. It hasn’t been easy but then look at the progress.  Social media is a wonderful resource against corporations like SeaWorld. With one click, we can send news out to our readers and to organise Facebook and Twitter campaigns like #EmptyTheTanks.

Unfortunately it has taken the deaths of three people before this has become the focus of global attention.

Why Killer Whales should not be kept in captivity

Some people said that spending $20 million to free Keiko (orca featured in the Free Willy movies) was a waste of money. Not so for the people who donated money for his cause. Why?

People were touched by his story. That’s why. Orcas are intelligent and social animals. They miss their pods/families. Orcas like Morgan are not coping well in captivity. Compassion (or the lack of it) is the measure of our humanity.

There is an abundance of information on Tilikum, SeaWorld, orcas, dolphins in captivity (caught from Taiji, Japan), The Cove, on the internet and on YouTube. Please check them out to educate yourself and your children.

Keeping animals in captivity is bad for business. Has SeaWorld learnt their lesson yet?

SeaWorld’s Horrible Years will continue if they haven’t.

Live Long & Prosper. Peace.

Ivonne Teoh