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For the past two years, SeaWorld has been on the defensive following the groundbreaking documentary Blackfish. In an attempt to mend their injured reputation, SeaWorld has taken to releasing videos designed to reinforce just how much they “care” for their animals and revealed plans to redesign the killer whale exhibits with the first available for public display at their San Diego park in 2018.

SeaWorld has been reluctant to acknowledge the mounting evidence confirming the devastating impact captivity can have on such sentient beings, firing back at criticism with expensive PR campaigns and evasive tactics.

Their refusal to acknowledge the public’s concern for the well-being of animals at SeaWorld only further proves that they will continue to abuse and exploit animals as long as there is a profit to be made. But by ignoring the heart of the problem and continuing on “business as usual,” SeaWorld may just be putting the final nails in their own grave.

Since the release of the documentary Blackfish, we’ve seen the true impact of the “Blackfish effect.”

Here are 12 of the worst things to happen to SeaWorld since the documentary’s release:

1. SeaWorld Misquotes Dr. Ingrid Visser’s Research … and Then Uses it as a Defense to Her Question on Twitter

Last year, Dr. Ingrid Visser challenged SeaWorld after they blatantly manipulated and misused her research on dorsal fin abnormalities.

In April, SeaWorld responded to a tweet from Dr. Ingrid Visser by citing a page that mentioned Visser’s own data, the very data SeaWorld has yet to publicly acknowledge they’re misusing. If SeaWorld was so concerned with the questions being asked on their “Ask SeaWorld” Twitter campaign, perhaps they should look at who they’re responding to. Talk about putting your foot in your mouth.

The 12 Worst Things to Happen to SeaWorld Since the Release of Blackfish

2. Barbie Drops SeaWorld

In April, Mattel confirmed it would no longer continue making the SeaWorld trainer Barbie. Reps for Mattel did not specify why the contract with SeaWorld would not be extended, but we can only imagine the negative press surrounding marine mammal captivity had something to do with it.

3. Major Airline End SeaWorld Deals

In October of 2014, Virgin America Inc. announced it would be dropping SeaWorld from its frequent flier program. This news came hot on the heels of Southwest Airlines and British Airways both ending their partnerships with SeaWorld.

4. Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against SeaWorld

Three class action lawsuits have been filed against SeaWorld for manipulating their customers into believing the animals in their care are thriving mentally and physically. While it’s likely these cases may be dropped, lawsuits like these continue to reinforce that the public does not condone marine mammal captivity.

The 12 Worst Things to Happen to SeaWorld Since the Release of Blackfish

5. OSHA Cites SeaWorld. Again.

SeaWorld was cited by OSHA (yet again) in April for failing to properly train their employees—specifically for how to safely interact with the killer whales.

6. SeaWorld Tries to Make a Point and Fails

After the documentary Blackfish called into question SeaWorld’s method of removing killer whale calves from their mothers, SeaWorld’s gone to great lengths to prove to the public that they recognize how important that bond is. In 2014, SeaWorld published a photo of a mother and a calf stating “SeaWorld recognizes the important bond between mother and calf.”

The worst part? The mother and calf pictured in the ad are, in fact, separated.

The 12 Worst Things to Happen to SeaWorld Since the Release of Blackfish

7. The ‘Ask SeaWorld’ Twitter Campaign Becomes a Laughing Stock

We aren’t really sure what SeaWorld’s PR team was expecting to happen when they consulted the Twitterverse to ask questions regarding the welfare of their animals. After they refused to acknowledge many of the legitimate questions raised by individuals concerned over the welfare of the animals and blocked a number of Twitter users including Leilani Munter, they insisted people stop harassing their account and ask “the right questions.”

8. SeaWorld Stocks and Attendance Plummet

We can’t say we’re surprised, but attendance and revenue have been at an all time low for SeaWorld. Blackstone Holdings, a key shareholder, recently sold 19,500,000 shares of their holdings in the company, and attendance has drop by over 13 percent.

9. SeaWorld Shareholders File Lawsuit

SeaWorld shareholders claim Jim Atchison mislead them regarding the impact the documentary Blackfish had on the parks revenue and attendance. The lawsuit also alleges SeaWorld failed to divulge they had continued to breed a killer whale (Tilikum) that was responsible for numerous deaths.

The 12 Worst Things to Happen to SeaWorld Since the Release of Blackfish

11. Musicians Cancel SeaWorld Performances

SeaWorld is notorious for large and loud performances (we’re sure the whales love it.) After the release of Blackfish, a number of celebrities and musicians came forward expressing their concern. Most notably, Willie Nelson, Pat Benatar, Heart and Mike Love of the Beach boys a few of the musicians that canceled their SeaWorld performances amid the backlash.

12. KIDS Petition to Cancel Class Trips

In the past few years, we’ve seen a number of young activists coming forward petitioning class trips to SeaWorld. Another student even petitioned to stop his school from having their prom at SeaWorld.

The 12 Worst Things to Happen to SeaWorld Since the Release of Blackfish

An End in Sight

The impact that Blackfish and the many activists and concerned citizens have made in the past three years alone is undeniable. Armed with knowledge and steely reserve, these people are making a real difference for the world’s captive marine animals. As the ripple effect continues to multiply, we can only expect to see SeaWorld experience more unfortunate events (although we can’t say we feel bad for them!). The fact is that people are no longer amused by injustice or abuse and in taking a stand, they give us hope that there will be a day when marine parks like SeaWorld simply cease to exist.

Lead image source: Don Richards/Facebook

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0 comments on “The 12 Worst Things to Happen to SeaWorld Since the Release of Blackfish”

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Nanette Berg
1 Years Ago

Where is #10? there is 1-12 but no #10????

Kate-Lyn Jones
2 Years Ago

I made this just for all of the marine parks out there.

SeaWorld, you have taken a step forward, however for most of the public it is not enough. You claim that your tanks are "safe" for your Orcas while the ocean is "dangerous" for them, while in reality the opposite is true. Orcas evolved over millions of years to live and thrive in the ocean and to wild caught Orcas tanks are not only alien to them but are also the more hostile environment. And even captive born Orcas, if they are not still born, would find it extremely difficult to live in them. There\'s very little room to swim, they have to compete for space constantly with other whales, and they are always hungry in order to perform tricks (not that the food is that great anyway, and I\'ll get to why)!

Orcas are capable of sustaining speeds at around 8mph and can go as fast as 30mph for a short amount of time. The only time I\'ve ever seen Orcas in a marine parks care ever get any exercise is when their doing tricks in the shows, which only happens for about possibly 3 times a day for about an hour, after that they just stay and float at the surface of the water for the rest of the day with nothing to do. And even if I\'m wrong it\'s still nothing compared to what the wild Orcas get for exercise, which are constantly in motion throughout their entire lives. People say that wild Orcas can travel 100 miles a day, that’s 1,208 laps around the perimeter of their tank or 3,105 lengths back and forth at the longest part of the tank (depending on the size of course), however wild male Orcas can live up to over 60-70 years and females can live up to 80-100 years, and with them traveling 100 miles each day for their entire lives then it certainly does look like captive Orcas are living a dangerously unhealthy life style by not getting this crucial exercise. And with that, how much crucial exercise are your Orcas loosing while they are in those tanks!?

Depending on where they live and what ecotype they are Orcas can have a large variety of food such as sharks, seals, rays, even sea birds, or they can feed on a single food source, for example a curtain kind of fish. In the wild some populations are known to teach their young by hunting an animal and then letting it go afterwards because their just not hungry and don’t want to waste food that may be eaten later. This shows that the wild Orcas eat so much that they simply don’t become hungry in many populations. In captivity however they are fed small amounts of dry dead fish with gelatin, this is a small source of food mixed with something completely alien in their diet that’s made out of pig and cow bones and is supposed to hydrate the Orcas, something that they would get anyway with fresh fish. With a daily diet of this tiny amount of food they are bound to be constantly hungry. The fact proving this point is that the Orcas are kept hungry to keep them performing tricks. Orcas from a different ecotype that eat a wide variety of animals would be hit the hardest by this because they are not getting their nutritional needs met. This is an extremely important issue that needs consideration, if some Orcas are not getting the nutrients that they desperately need then they are more likely to die sooner than other Orcas from a different ecotype that feed mostly on fish! And I haven’t even touched on the anti-depressants you feed them. If you seriously think that you have to feed the Orcas anti-depressants just to get them “happy”, then you couldn’t be anymore wrong! It just proves how right the experts are on these animals!

These are not the only problems with captives however. Many of them suffer from eye and possibly skin conditions thanks to the chlorinated water, the eyes become irritated just like when a human enters the water and Keto, who has strange pockmarks behind his dorsal fin, lesions his right side, and has wrinkled skin both under his dorsal fin and on his side, are all possibly caused by the water! And this isn’t even mentioning their teeth! Not matter which way you look at it, it is just pure, downright painful for them to have broken and shattered teeth. You claim that their degrading teeth is caused by them chewing on their food when in reality this isn’t true, the food is thrown into the back of their throat were they can just swallow it, most likely to avoid any bits of food getting stuck in their drilled teeth. The real reason their teeth are in horrendous condition is that they chew on the sides of their tanks. We can clearly see the damage they’ve caused to their tanks when you drain the water to maintain the tank itself. We can see the bits of concrete and paint that have been damaged and I wouldn’t be suppressed if they accidently swallowed small pieces of them, leading to possible sickness. The amount of damage the Orcas have in Loro Parque alone is about 41.66% to 70% and we know that it’s getting worse the longer they live there. With a cat, dog, monkey, cow, or even a horse many rescue organisations would not stand for this amount of cruelty in the amount of time that the Orcas would have to put up with it.

Orcas in the wild are known to live with their mothers for their entire lives and only leave their pod for a short time to breed before returning to them. The 145 Orcas that were taken from the wild and from their mothers as babies suffered huge amounts of stress, and now only 20 survived the ordeal. The endangered Southern Resident Orca pod suffered massive causalities thanks to marine parks like SeaWorld! And after all that only one is still alive today who is now kept in illegal conditions, Lolita. She has lived in captivity for nearly 50 years when she could have been helping to repopulate the Southern Residents! Not once has she contributed to her species (not that she could anyway seeing as she’s the only Southern Resident in captivity) and laws with her are being broken every day with her being in that ridiculously tiny tank! She is better off in a sea sanctuary now more than ever, if she doesn’t get any help soon then she could die within the next few years or even months, because the average age for captive Orcas is only 13 to 30 years!

Oh and don’t make the case that you haven’t taken Orcas out of the wild in 35 years, I know your lying on that as well. I know for a fact that Morgan was taken out of the wild in 2010 and now she somehow ended up on your asset list, making it 6 years that you haven’t taken an Orca out of the wild. And don’t tell me she’s deaf either. She spent 3 years in the wild and I’m pretty sure that she would have done just fine if the rescuers released her. I’m also not ruling out the fact that she’s deaf because of captivity, I wouldn’t be surprised if an Orca from the wild, who has sensitive hearing, would be deaf from the loud music. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the staff was lying to us about her condition or is not really sure that she has anything at all. Considering that the announcement was made during a court hearing and considering that a zoo vet mistook an employee in a gorilla costume for an actual gorilla, see “Zoo Vet Mistakes Employee In Gorilla Suit For An Actual Ape, Shoots Him With Tranquilizer” on The Dodo for that, it makes sense that that they would lie just to keep her at the park to gain money.

Because of the mixture of all of these facts they would all lead to the animals becoming extremely stressed, increasing their heartrate, rising their blood pressure, and giving them faster breathing rates. Thanks to scientific research we now know that months of exposure to stress can permanently destroy brain neurons, this can affect learning, impulse control, reasoning and memory. It can also influence diseases that can cause intestinal distress, depression and many other problems. This is possibly the reason why Tilikum has a possible bacterial infection in his lungs and possibly why he attacked and killed three people within his lifetime. It’s also the reason why the animals attack each other and rake their teeth across other Orcas. In the wild if an Orca attacked another Orca then it would usually be a male fighting other males over the right to mate, and even then they could just simply swim away to avoid any real injury’s or scars. The victims here are captives of all genders, all ages that don’t have the luxury of swimming away and are forced to endure the attacks. This causes permanent scars on their body, something that you don’t realise is extrodeneraly painful for them. To them it’s like knifes being raked across their body, probably not enough to break their thick blubber but enough to hurt extremely badly and cause even more stress on the animals.

And do NOT tell me that all of these problems are normal for wild Orcas as it is for captives just because your vets said so. If Orca experts, people who have spent years researching wild Orca pods and know their differences outside and in, know that the Orcas in captivity are suffering, then they are suffering! Who am I more likely to believe, an actual expert in the field that researches wild Orcas, or a vet who, even if they actually have a good education with curtain animals, can be completely influenced by bias towards the parks or by money? Orcas are extremely intelligent animals with their brain weighing up to 15 pounds or 6.8kg. If you want a comparison to another intelligent animal look at the Elephant, whose brain can weigh up to only 11 pounds or 5kg and has earned the saying “an Elephant never forgets”. If they never forget what would that make the Orcas then? The Ringling Bros recently just released their Elephants into a sanctuary because of the changing attitudes in their audience. If you wish to save the company then I’d recommend that you’d best do the same. Oh and this applies to all Dolphins and Porpoises in all marine parks, not just Orcas.

PS: This isn’t technically proven, however is consistent to what I know and would be very interesting if proven right. When I talked about stress I talked about the raising of heart rates, blood pressure and breath rates, and recently while reading a book I learned that large animals, like the blue whale, have a slower heart rate. This allows them to live for many years as opposed to small animals with incredibly fast heart rates that only live for a few years at best. With Orcas your website says on Adaptations that on the surface of the water they have 60 beats per minute, while when diving they have 30 beats per minute. Since Orcas can dive to around 100m or 328ft it is expected that wild Orcas have naturally fairly slow heart rates and therefor live longer lives. However captives don’t have the pleasure of diving that deep with your largest tank being only 40ft deep or 12.2 metres deep. Plus most of the Orcas I’ve seen in your care float listlessly on the surface, proven by their collapsed dorsal fins which is only seen in sick and injured Orca in the wild. This means their heart rates are bound to be high. And if you think 60 beats per minute is normal for an Orca then look at a Humans heart rate, which is 60 to 100 beats per minute, and 40 to 60 beats per minute for an athlete. With that I end it, I’ll admit I have no idea what their blood pressure is and I only know that wild Orcas come up to breath every 20 minutes (I’m not sure about captives), however if a Human athlete is healthier than your Orcas then you are in trouble.

support seaworld
3 Years Ago

oh and I forgot to mention the 25,000+ animals seaworld rescued...

support seaworld
3 Years Ago

whats going on with u people?! have u ever gone to seaworld.com??? obviously not!

It is unfortunate that PETA’s focus in targeting SeaWorld continues to be on getting media attention, not helping animals.

Created nutritional formulas and nursing bottles to hand-feed orphaned animals.
Saved sea turtles with cracked shells using everyday items like honey and baby ointment.
Crafted prosthetic beaks for injured birds.
Developed an “animal wetsuit” to help injured manatees stay afloat.

Blackfish employs false and emotionally manipulative sequences concerning the collection and separation of killer whales.
The film relies on former SeaWorld employees, most of whom have little experience with killer whales, and others who haven’t worked at SeaWorld in nearly 20 years.
The film depicts a killer whale collection in Washington State that occurred 40 years ago. It leaves viewers with three false impressions: (1) that SeaWorld continues to collect whales from the wild to this day; (2) that Tilikum himself was collected by SeaWorld; and (3) that the collections done four decades ago were illegal. None of this is true. SeaWorld does not collect killer whales in the wild, and has not done so in over 35 years. Tilikum was not collected by us. And the collections four decades ago were conducted in compliance with federal laws, pursuant to federally-issued permits at that time.

and thats just a little of the truth.
Check for ourselves before criticizing!

3 Years Ago

Ask the bottlenose and black\'n\'white dolphins what they want, Sea World. Pay them, don\'t enslave them. They\'ll make you RICH in many good ways. Plus, they\'re excellent teachers, when they\'re happy, safe, and free.

Kathleen Haase
3 Years Ago

"This news came hot on the heels of Southwest Airlines and British Airways both ending their partnerships with SeaWorld."

That is false. British Airways has not ended their partnership with SeaWorld. Please correct this. I have contacted one of your authors who has made this false claim months ago. British Airways is still fully supporting and defending SeaWorld. How do I know? Because I have been running a campaign to get them to drop SeaWorld for almost a year now and they have simply refused to take action: www.change.org/BAseaworld

Please finally correct your statement about British Airways.

Eric Mills
3 Years Ago

You know you\'re in trouble when Barbie departs your organization, and Jane Goodall suggests that you should be shut down.

SeaWorld is to be commended for its work on rehabbing marine mammals over the years. Kudos for that. But, truth be told, orcas (aka "killer whales") neither thrive nor belong in captivity. In the wild, these highly-social and intelligent animals live in extended family groups ("pods"), each with its own dialect. The young females stay with their mothers for life. Orcas can travel 80-100 miles in a day hunting live prey, using their remarkable echo-location abilities.

Contrast all that with life in a concrete bathtub of chlorinated water, fed a steady diet of frozen fish, your echo-location useless. Many captive orcas suffer serious dental problems and resort to aggressive behaviors, all brought on by the stresses of captivity, and "performances-on-demand." A true "Crime Against Nature," and it needs to stop. Tilikum has already killed three people, dismembering one. How many does it take, pray? Follow the money.

Here in California we were promised "interim hearings" last year on Assemblymember Richard Bloom legislation (AB 2140). They never happened, nor is that bill likely to be heard again any time soone, due to the fact that the new Speaker of the Assembly, Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), is a big fan of SeaWorld. Ain\'t politics grand?

Email pattern for all Senators - [email protected]
Email pattern for all Assemblymembers - [email protected]

Anyone still in doubt about the ethics of keeping orcas in captivity should see the documentary, "Blackfish," and read David Kirby\'s 2012 book, "Death at SeaWorld," and former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove\'s 2015 book, "Beneath the Surface."

Better yet, simply go to SeaWorld with an open mind, then support the obvious: FREE THE WHALES!

Eric Mills, coordinator

3 Years Ago



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