I was so happy to hear the news as my inbox was flooded with emails from animal rights groups on the latest news about SeaWorld. Only this time, the news was positive.
It appears that after much fierce controversy and criticism, spearheaded by the 2013 Black Fish documentary, SeaWorld is finally taking (baby) steps in the right direction.
They announced on March 17th that the park will officially end it’s Orca breeding programs. (Yay!)
Additionally, they promise to phase out the current Orca show in their San Diego park in 2016. It will be fully replaced by 2017 with an “experience that highlights orcas’ natural behaviors” according to ABC News. Hopefully this will spread to all SeaWorld theme parks as well.
SeaWorld also announced it partnership with the Humane Society, hoping this relationship will help reshape them in the publics’ eye.
What does this mean for the 29 orcas in captivity? Nothing … except that they won’t have to jump through hoops anymore. Sadly they will live out the remainder of their lives in captivity because they cannot survive on their own in their natural home … the ocean. PETA is fighting this and asking SeaWorld to release their orcas to sea sanctuaries. (Basically open water play pens that would allow the Orcas to swim “freely” in the ocean in a contained area, for their safety)
Obviously this is a less than ideal situation for these majestic animals that have never been given the chance to be what they really are … an orca swimming freely in the open waters.
But baby steps are better than none. One small step for the SeaWorld orcas and a big step for all animals that are being held in captivity.