SeaWorld’s killer whales are taking their final bows. On Monday, SeaWorld announced that they are planning to take away their killer whale entertainment, which has been under criticism from the public on how the animals are treated. The company, who have locations in Orlando, Fla., and San Antonio, stated in a company document on Monday that they will be replacing the Shamu water show with an “informative” experience that “inspires people to act”.
Fred Jacobs, a company spokesman states that this announcement will not affect the orcas in parks located in Texas and Florida.
Since the “Blackfish”, a documentary that shed light on and criticized the park’s treatment of their orcas was released in 2013, SeaWorld has been under a large amount of scrutiny and notes that since the release and CNN playing the movie repetitively, there has been less and less people buying tickets and attending shows at SeaWorld.
In California parks specifically, the pressure to stop using orcas in performances has been intense. Friday, Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat of California, announced that he plans on introducing a bill that banns the breeding, wild capture and import/exporting of the whales. In October, the California Costal Commission banned the breeding of whales in captivity; the committee also attached a ban on SeaWorld’s whale exhibit expansion in San Diego.
Joel Manby, SeaWorld’s president and chief’s executive says that the decision isn’t based off of the scrutiny company has been getting from the public because “activists aren’t going to be pleased with anything we do”. Manby also said that guests recently have been expressing different tastes, wanting a more “natural” feel to the entertainment, that they’d like to see the whale’s natural habitats.
“We didn’t do anything in San Diego because of the activists, we did it because we’re hearing it from our guests.”
In reply, Jared Goodman, the director of animal law for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the “end to SeaWorld’s tawdry circus-style shows is inevitable and necessary”.
It is to be noted that it has been five years since any trainer in the United States got in the water with a whale since trainer Dawn Brancheau died when “she apparently slipped or fell into the tank and was fatally injured by one of the whales,” according to sheriff Jim Solomans. But, a witness to CNN that the whale Tillikum, grabbed Brancheau by the waist and shook her so violently her shoe came off, the corner reporting in the autopsy a fractured neck, a broken jaw and a dislocated elbow and knee. The incident was recorded by many people on cell phones, iPods and video recorders and the story is also covered in “Blackfish”.
Since 1961, there have been 113 unspecified incidents in the United States alone, 11 in France, 6 in Canada, 3 in England, 4 in Spain, 2 in Mexico and Japan and 1 incident in Iceland and Russia’s parks. There is one unknown incident at an unidentified park. You can read more about the dates and names of the whales at orcahome.de.
Following Dawn Brancheau’s death, Tilikum was held in a tiny enclosure, limiting his ability to swim, communicate with other orcas and his interactions with humans further. In the picture below, found http://www.seaworldofhurt.com’s Tilikum: Over 30 years & Three Deaths article, you can see the tip of his nose and the tip of his tail can touch the enclosure at the same time.
It’s only a matter of time that SeaWorld as a whole is closed down completely, cracking down under the public’s eye, but until then, we keep on praying for the whales SeaWorld crushes under its cruelty everyday.