By: Remi Schott
If you’re planning to go to one of SeaWorld’s three locations this spring break, then you might want to put your plans on hold. Over the years, SeaWorld has become a very popular destination for tourists and families.
However, instead of visiting the attractions, animal activists and former tourists are now boycotting SeaWorld. The documentary Blackfish, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, illuminates the harsh realities of SeaWorld that have been kept secret for so long. Since Blackfish garnered many film awards in 2013, the expository documentary has recently attracted the attention of government officials. The documentary highlights the following facts about the inexcusable conditions of the establishment:
• Cramped Conditions: In the wild, each of the animals that SeaWorld keeps in captivity can swim up to 100 miles per day. However, to swim that distance in a SeaWorld tank, one animal would have to swim the circumference of its pool up to 1,900 times! Some of SeaWorld’s tanks barely provide enough room for the animals to turn around or move. How would you like living in a bathtub?
• Care for Animals: There have been countless examples of SeaWorld failing to provide the proper care for the animals that they keep in captivity. One of these examples includes the USDA warning to SeaWorld for its “repeated failure to provide drain covers that are securely fastened in order to minimize the potential risk of animal entrapment.” After failing to act on the citation, SeaWorld suffered the death of a young sea lion.
• Capturing the Orcas: Before 1972, SeaWorld’s Orcas were captured from their homes, taken against their will, and torn from their families. “Marine Cowboys,” people that captured the orcas, would kill the whales they deemed too old for SeaWorld by cutting open and placing rocks inside of the Orcas’ stomachs, so the whales would sink to the bottom of the ocean floor.
• Diving with Dolphins Harms: A recent scientific study by England’s Newcastle University found that dolphins that come in contact with humans are more likely to experience extreme stress. This stress can prevent the dolphins from performing basic functions like resting, feeding and nurturing their young! Despite the results of this study, SeaWorld continues to allow tourists to swim, touch and interact with the dolphins.
• Breeding: While wild Orcas are very social animals and mate with one other for life, those at SeaWorld are forced to interbreed on a regular basis. The female orcas are artificially inseminated by sperm extracted from the males, and are forced to breed much earlier than they would in nature. This inbreeding has resulted in the birth of animals that often develop undesired characteristics, like aggression, and sometimes physical and mental defects.
Visit www.peta2.org to learn more about SeaWorld’s unfair practices and view Cowperthwaite’s film Blackfish.