Everyone knows that place. That sad local amusement park that looks like a toy train set compared to Six Flags or that new cafe on the block that hasn’t quite hit its stride yet. You know, the kind of place that needs to schmooze their customers with deals and publicity stunts to get them through the door. The type of place that probably would definitely be shut down by now if they didn’t keep roping customers through the door with their gimmicks. Well, as more people have become aware of the cruelty and deception present at marine parks, SeaWorld and its Orlando sister park, Discovery Cove, have become these types of desperate places. Think we’re exaggerating? Just recently, after SeaWorld randomly upped their ticket price by a dollar (you’re not doing yourself any favors, guys), Discovery Cove decided to offer their customers a sweeeet deal: for $219, their Florida guests can indulge in all of the masqueraded abuse their park has to offer, enjoy unlimited drinks, and then once they’re nice and boozed up, head over to the dolphin tank for a 30-minute swim.

 
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If this sounds like an absolutely ridiculous idea, it’s because it is. Not only is it cringe-worthily desperate to offer alcohol to get guests through the door but the idea that it could be offered in the same breath as a swim with dolphins experience is borderline insane. Dolphins, like any other captive marine animal at SeaWorld, don’t want to be there. We know because we’ve witnessed all the typical signs of distress we see depressed captive animals exhibit. We’ve seen them collide into tank walls on purpose, float motionless in the water, and even jump right out of their tanks in an attempt to escape. And things only get worse when humans get involved. We’ve seen an annoyed dolphin snatch an iPad right from the hands of a gawking visitor and biting a child who got a tad too close. Forced dolphin-human interaction like this is already a bad idea, adding alcohol to the equation is irresponsible and frankly, stupid.

Discovery Cove’s decision to offer this special is telling of a larger idea that we already knew: marine parks care much more about their human visitors than their animal prisoners. And with attendance and stocks plummeting, this fact is no longer speculation, it’s clearly true and Discovery Cove is showing us with their actions. There are many reasons why dolphins don’t belong in tanks, and there are even more reasons they don’t deserve to have a bunch of drunk idiots taking up room in their tiny tank, swimming beside them and prodding them like objects. If you are as strongly opposed to this as we are, the best course of action you can take is to raise awareness to the cruelty present in marine parks and boycott any and all marine parks. It’s time for SeaWorld and Discovery Cove to grow up and #EmptyTheTanks!

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Lead image source: A_Lesik/Shutterstock