By BILL ZAN
Lately, there has been much controversy over SeaWorld’s – among other amusement parks and attractions – use of animals for recreational purposes. Here are some reasons SeaWorld should keep its orcas:
1. SeaWorld cannot operate without killer whales.
Former SeaWorld Research Director John Hall said in the 1997 documentary “Whale of a Business” that an estimated seventy percent of SeaWorld’s profits were due to the presence of orcas. In comparison, the documentary “Blackfish,” which harshly criticized SeaWorld’s practices, caused revenue to fall by six percent. The drop in revenue then caused SeaWorld’s stock value to fall 33 percent.
2. The orcas are not a significant danger to humans.
In the fifty years that SeaWorld has existed, only three people have been killed by the business’s killer whales, according to the Orca Project. Two of the deaths were of SeaWorld trainers. Their deaths were accidents that are unlikely to happen again due to SeaWorld’s recent changes in safety procedures. The other death, of a visitor, was entirely the fault of the individual. He snuck into an orca’s tank after the park was closed.
3. SeaWorld does not have a significant impact on the wild orca population.
SeaWorld has twenty-four orcas in captivity, and all its orcas were bred from the few orcas it captured decades ago. The twenty-four orcas that it has are insignificant compared to the 50,000 killer whales worldwide. Many of SeaWorld’s orcas suffer due to inbreeding and damage from living in captivity and probably would not survive anyway if released into the wild. The orca population’s main threats are pollution, habitat disturbance and oil spills. None of these main threats exist in SeaWorld.
4. SeaWorld’s treatment of orcas is far better than factory farms’ treatment of animals used in the meat industry.
Both SeaWorld and factory farms treat animals poorly. However, while a pig raised and slaughtered in a factory farm might feed a family of four, the orcas raised in SeaWorld are helping feed tens of thousands of employees by the revenue they help generate.
5. SeaWorld is improving the treatment of orcas around the world.
Scientists at SeaWorld have released studies on the orcas that SeaWorld has in captivity. In addition, according to its website, SeaWorld has raised awareness of many issues that orcas face and has donated millions to research, rescue and conservation efforts for all marine life.
6. Orcas are animals.
Their treatment, much like that of the animals humans use for food, is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.