Largely thanks to the critically-acclaimed documentary Blackfish, which exposed the shocking mistreatment and abuse captive cetaceans endure at marine parks like SeaWorld, the business has seen ticket sales drop. Attendance at the parks dropped another 5.5 percent in 2017, after dropping 3.3 percent the year before, indicating that the influence of Blackfish is still spreading. However, SeaWorld told investors that profits were not affected by the widespread criticism brought about by the film, fraudulent claims which have resulted in an investigation of the business by the Department of Justice. And SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby stepped down after failing to clean up their tarnished image, and other SeaWorld heads have since done the same. And if any more proof is needed that SeaWorld is sinking, SeaWorld San Diego has now reported half a million fewer visitors in 2017 than in 2016.
This refreshing news is a hopeful sign that the public is becoming increasingly aware of the dangers and cruelty involved in keeping cetaceans in captivity. Captive orcas like those exploited by SeaWorld are violently ripped away from their close-knit family pods in the wild and tossed in bathtub-like enclosures to pose as spectacles for noisy crowds in exchange for food. Life in captivity for these highly-intelligent animals leads to extreme mental and emotional trauma, commonly known as zoochosis, a serious psychological disorder exhibited by compulsive and destructive behavior like incessant swaying, head bobbing, chewing, self-mutilation, and even suicide attempts. Calves born in captivity are immediately taken away from their mothers, leading to tremendous anguish and ear-piercing cries from the mothers for weeks. Life in captivity also equates to broken and missing teeth and collapsed dorsal fins, and the inadequate conditions at parks can lead to abnormal and aggressive behavior, which is dangerous for the animals and people alike.
In an effort to counteract sinking sales, SeaWorld has released a number of marketing campaigns, which have shown to be unsuccessful when looking at the continuous drop of ticket sales, but they are pursuing yet another campaign (on Facebook) to target their ideal demographic. Rather than wasting more time and money on bringing in visitors, though, SeaWorld should be paying attention to what the public really wants, and that means no cruelty in the name of entertainment.
Although the drop in sales at SeaWorld is promising, over three million people still visited SeaWorld San Diego last year, meaning there are still many people who are unaware of the problems involved in cetacean captivity, so PLEASE do your part to spread awareness by sharing this with your network!
Image Source: Pixabay