SeaWorld has at last bowed to public pressure and announced it’s putting an end to orca shows in its San Diego theme park by 2017.
The last shows will take place in 2016, and come the following year an “all new orca experience focused on natural environments” will replace them, said chief executive Joel Manby.
The news comes just days after U.S. Congressmen Adam Schiff said he would introduce legislation to end the captivity of orcas, stating that “the evidence it very strong that the psychological and physical harm done to these magnificent animals far outweighs any benefits reaped from their display.”
Whether the show will continue at SeaWorld’s other parks in Orlando, Florida, and San Antonio, Texas is tbd.
Look, on the surface of it all (pun kinda intended?), this decision seems to be entirely motivated by profits, rather than anything even remotely related to animal welfare.
SeaWorld’s market value has halved since the 2013 release of Blackfish, a documentary about the death of a SeaWorld trainer who was dragged, drowned, and scalped by an aggressive bull whale, as well as portraying the alleged mistreatment of killer whales at its parks (it premiered at Sundance). Protests against the whale shows mounted, and even celebs like Matt Damon and Harry Styles joined the movement with the intent of discouraging their young fans to visit the parks.
Evidently, SeaWorld deemed no task was deemed too drastic in countering the “emotionally manipulative” film with “obvious bias”, in an attempt to save their falling profits. The company spent a cool $15m on a TV and social media campaign countering the views portrayed in the doco, concentrated on telling customers “69 reasons you shouldn’t believe Blackfish“, and actually sent an employee undercover to infiltrate PETA.
Still hasn’t worked, though. Shame.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.
SeaWorld legit wants to becoming the WholeFoods of the animals-for-profit biz, with Mandy confidently telling investors that “people love companies that have a purpose, even for-profit companies”.
I’ll tell you what, he is NOT getting paid enough for those insights, no he is not. [end sarcasm.]
Watch the trailer for Blackfish below:
Image: Wolfgang Kaehler via Getty Images.
via The Guardian.