Should SeaWorld send its orcas to sea sanctuaries? | The Tylt
Should SeaWorld send its orcas to sea sanctuaries?
SeaWorld ended its famous Shamu show after the CNN documentary "BlackFish" revealed SeaWorld mistreats animals and questioned whether large sea mammals could be kept in captivity at all. In response, SeaWorld announced it would end its captive breeding programs, and create a new and more educational show instead.
SeaWorld says orca shows are an important part of conservation. They give people a chance to see animals they would never otherwise see up close and potentially spark a life-long passion for animal conservation. The new show was designed to exhibit natural orca behaviors in an environment that simulates the wild. Here's how SeaWorld describes it:
Starting next year, SeaWorld is introducing new, inspiring, natural orca encounters as part of our ongoing commitment to education, marine science research and the rescue of marine animals. SeaWorld’s orcas will continue to live at the parks’ state-of-the-art habitats where they will inspire millions of guests each year to take action with SeaWorld to protect wild animals and they places they live.
Animal rights activists say anything short of sending the orcas to sanctuaries would not be enough. Forcing the highly intelligent animals to perform for people is cruel. Changing the show so the orcas perform different tricks, without the trainers in the water, doesn't actually change anything. The animals are still stuck in concrete tanks and are still being forced to perform tricks for food.
Instead of taking the time and money to develop new shows and habitats, activists say SeaWorld should partner with the researchers and scientists who are working to establish a sea sanctuary. This way, the orcas will at least live in a more natural environment with the hope that some of them could be released into the wild.
The group said in a statement they were trying to build a place "where cetaceans — whales, dolphins, and porpoises — can live permanently in an environment as close to their natural habitat as possible and with full support for their well-being".