The movie “Blackfish” was seen as a quintessential spark in the animal rights community in the early 2010s. It exposed SeaWorld and its predecessors for being enablers of animal cruelty, inbreeding and providing poor living conditions to Orcas and other marine life.
Pushes through social media, active protests and petitions — all campaigns used to try to get SeaWorld to either stop operations altogether or treat the animals better (e.g. ending all theatrical shows, more spacious housing cells, etc.) — have finally paid off. SeaWorld has come forward saying that the parks will cease breeding killer whales.
Not only is this great for marine life at SeaWorld parks, but this could cause a domino effect for zoos and circuses that don’t take proper care of their animals.
According to anti-SeaWorld campaign SeaWorld of Hurt’s website, these protests that voice public opinion have effected the theme parks’ higher-ups. According to the website, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby admitted that an “attitude change” in public opinion pushed the decision.
“SeaWorld has been listening, and we’re changing,” the company said in a statement. “Society is changing, and we’re changing with it. SeaWorld is finding new ways to continue to deliver on our purpose to inspire all our guests to take action to protect wild animals and wild places.”
It was slow and deliberate, but this is huge news for animal rights activists and killer whales alike. According to the SeaWorld release, not only will breeding cease, but it’s also on track to eliminate shows and simply have the remaining Orcas viewed in natural encounters where the whales can retire peacefully. Unfortunately, Orcas raised in SeaWorld are not fit to survive in the wild, so it’s beyond hope that they’ll have a normal, wild life.
“Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives,” Manby wrote. “If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die.”
Society has progressed enough to know that we can’t tame the wild as well as we might think. We may be able to conquer nature, but nature can conquer us right back. We learned this with the deaths that occurred at the park. One day, we could see the end of parks that exploit animals altogether.