SeaWorld: The Hidden Truth
#EMPTYTHETANKS -What do you think?
Recent controversy has arisen after 2013 ‘Blackfish‘ documentary was produced, stating that a trainer had been killed by an Orca, leading to further debates around the safety of trainers themselves and the orcas within their parks. It has also been argued that SeaWorld has been mistreating its animals within their parks, particularly its Orca whales, who are living in enclosure tanks smaller than Sea Worlds car park.
Sea World now has 3 parks across America with its original being in San Diego, which was built in 1964, however attendance levels and profits are increasingly dropping due to people not wanting to support the parks misconducted and treatment of its animals.
A male orca can grow in size to a staggering 19-24 feet and can reach speeds of up to 35mph, making them the fastest marine animals on the planet. Surely such large creatures need enclosures nearing on the size of reservoirs, so they are able to swim around openly and freely like they can in the sea.
However SeaWorld for many years has ignored pleas and criticisms that its animals need more space. It is also alarming that that Orcas in the wild can live to an impressive 30-50 years old, however living in the tanks at SeaWorld, the average age is a much lower 9 years old.
Bad news for SeaWorld
On the 24th February 2010, disaster struck as a trainer fell into a tank and was “fatally injured by one of the whales” explained a sheriff Jim Solomon. Witnesses comment how killer whale Shamu jumped up and grabbed the trainer by her waist, shaking her violently and causing her to drown. This wasn’t even the first time a trainer had been injured at the park, in 2005 a trainer was pushed under the water twice by a killer whale at Shamu Stadium causing him to be hospitalized. In 1999, killer whale Tilikium was blamed for the death of a 27 year old man who was found floating on his back within the enclosure. Surely, after one incident of human life being put at risk, authorities would have the parks shut down to prevent the future potential harm of humans and the public? Obviously not.
Progress was finally made after hugely popular documentary ‘Blackfish’ was released in 2013, grossing an impressive $2,073,582. The documentary was later released on Netflix. The honesty and shocking facts presented in the show opened many peoples eyes to the reality that orcas were wild animals who belonged in the sea, not profit making victims of humans. Since the documentary aired, it is not surprising that SeaWorld revenue decreased by $7.4 million dollars in one year alone, a total of 6% compared to 2013.
More recently, Jack-ass star Steve-O joined in the big debate after climbing a 100ft crane in Hollywood in protest against SeaWorld, inflating a giant blow up orca whale branded with the words ‘SeaWorld Sucks’ last September. It attracted huge media and social service attention, including five ambulances, a helicopter and more than 80 firefighters being sent to the scene. He was sentenced to a month in jail and ordered to pay back £9,000 to the city.
So where are we at today with SeaWorld? Although the parks profit margin has seriously decreased, it still continues to remain open. However the huge uproar surrounding the exploitation of the Orcas has forced SeaWorld to double the size of their tanks due to the increasing pressures from the public.