Score one for the killer whales! After multiple protests and years of criticism from animal rights groups from around the globe, SeaWorld announced on March 17 that it would end it’s program of breeding captive orcas.
Fans of orcas and animal rights activists everywhere are celebrating today! SeaWorld, the most famous marine theme park in the entire world, announced that it would no longer breed any killer whales kept in captivity!
In a joint-announcement with the Humane Society of the United States, SeaWorld announced on March 17 that it would finally end its orca-breeding program. “Today’s announcement signals that the era of captive display of orcas will end,” Wayne Pacelle, CEO and president of the Humane Society, proudly said in the statement, according to NPR.
SeaWorld will shift its attention away from breeding captive whales and more on saving marine life out in the wild. “As one of the largest rescue organizations in the world, we will increase our focus on rescue operations,” SeaWorld’s president and CEO, Joel Manby, added in that statement. These efforts, according to Joel, will ensure that “the thousands of stranded marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions that cannot be released back to the wild will have a place to go.”
The theme park’s practice of keeping and breeding killer whales has been the target of animal rights activists for years. Steve-O, 41, was arrested in Aug. 2015 for climbing a crane to hang a gigantic killer whale balloon (with “SeaWorld Sucks” written on the side) to shame the company. However, the biggest slam against SeaWorld’s orca program came in 2013, with the release of Blackfish.
— KTBS (@KTBS) March 17, 2016
The documentary focused on the story of Tilikum, a captive whale who had killed multiple SeaWorld employees, including trained Dawn Brancheau. The film focused on SeaWorld’s conditions and the problems of keeping a killer whale in captivity. SeaWorld faced wave after wave of criticism over its orca program, so they really had no choice but to shut it down.
The director of Blackfish, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, called the March 17 announcement “a defining moment. The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change.” In addition to ending its breeding program, SeaWorld had also previously announced it would phase out its theatrical orca shows at its San Diego location. So this certainly may be the end of SeaWorld as we know it.
What do you think about SeaWorld’s announcement, HollywoodLifers?