In light of the pending “Orca Welfare and Safety Act” currently in debate, representatives from SeaWorld provided us with this prepared statement.
I’ve studied orcas since childhood and noticed the flawed information given by trainers years before I watched Blackfish. Not completely blinded by my passion for these creatures, I understand that the documentary was obviously completely one sided, meant to sway you to never buy a ticket to Seaworld and to tell all your friends to boycott. I get it. Yes, it’s politics. Yes, if Seaworld lost “Shamu,” they would have to let people go and lose money in the process. Yes, kids walk out of the park going, “oooh,” “ahhh,” “Gee, Mom, that was awesome! I’d love to learn more about orcas.”
Let’s get real for a second.
I’m not saying Seaworld is full of evil puppeteers trying to trap all the beautiful creatures of the ocean into slavery simply to pull their strings for public amusement. They love these animals as much as I or you do. I get that. Yes, they educate the public, but honestly, a kid can get the same information (far more accurate, unfortunately) from Google, and the only kind of career any of those kids would grow up to have with orcas is to work with them in the wild (orcas seldom visit San Diego and you won’t find one swimming by the San Antonio River Walk, so anybody who wants to work with wild orcas that live in the US would have to relocate anyway) or getting a job as a trainer. How is getting splashed by Shamu really benefiting little Johnny on his 3rd grade field trip in the long run?
While there may be flaws in the act itself (I’ve skimmed through it), a giant whale doesn’t belong in a glass tank. Even if you’re not sensitive to the psychological effect it has on the animals themselves, humans have DIED working with orcas in captivity. Dawn Brancheau was NOT the first and will most likely NOT be the last.
Putting an orca in a box isn’t something we were meant to do. I hope it’s something we will look back on in years to come and say, “I can’t believe we did that.” It’s just like Rob tells Richie on the Dick Van Dyke show about keeping his duck in a sink: it’s selfish love.