SeaWorld has been under fire from animal activists for the last several years after multiple accusations have been made regarding of their treatment towards the orcas and various other sea creatures used in their famous animal shows. This Monday, Nov. 9, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby offered, what the park thinks, a solution.
SeaWorld is no stranger to negative backlash regarding their treatment of animals, but after the 2013 release of Blackfish, a documentary about the sea-park industry’s inhumane treatment of animals, the general public were exposed to the behavior. In the years following Blackfish’s release, even more information regarding SeaWorld’s treatment of animals came to light.
In March of this year, former senior orca trainer, John Hargrove, released a book titled Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish, further offering first-hand information on the despicable treatment of the animals. The information was so damaging to the park, SeaWorld even threatened the former trainer with legal action.
According to an interview National Geographic had with Hargrove in March after the release of his novel:
“[SeaWorld] is a bully who, for decades, has silenced trainers who threatened to speak out. But I’m not going to be silenced. I have a right to speak about my life and my experiences, and I’m not going to let a corporation like SeaWorld try to shut me up.”
After years of little to no action regarding the accusations, Manby announced their intention to reform their San Diego location by removing their “theatrical” orca shows in 2016. SeaWorld has not expressed any intention of ending the traditional performances at their Orlando location and even announced SeaWorld San Diego’s intention to continue with future orca performances, this time including “experiences that are more natural”.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, said “we urge SeaWorld to make its pledge more explicit, to phase out orca acts at all of its facilities, end its breeding program and work with us on a plan to put the orcas in suitable environments.”
The Orlando Sentinel reported SeaWorld’s stock closed at $17.91 after the announcement, 1.3 percent lower than the day before. These numbers suggest Americans are not satisfied with these changes and may feel SeaWorld should be doing more.