Thank you for running Chris Green’s thoughtful piece calling out SeaWorld’s PR spin. SeaWorld’s business model – like so many of the orcas it has exploited – is dead.
Orcas are enormous in both size and brain power. In the oceans where they belong, orcas swim vast distances every day and lead rich, complex lives. Keeping them in worlds that can be measured in gallons is ethically indefensible. They know they aren’t supposed to be in SeaWorld’s barren tanks, performing silly tricks for dead fish. It’s little wonder so many die far short of their natural lifespans.
SeaWorld can develop protected coastal pens where the orcas can be transitioned. There, the animals could have greater freedom of movement; the ability to see, sense, and communicate with their wild cousins; to feel the tides and waves; and have opportunities to engage in the behaviors that they’ve long been denied. Viewing platforms would allow the public to see and appreciate these animals for who they are, not interchangeable “Shamu’s.”
By moving forward into a future that doesn’t include keeping ocean dwellers in swimming pools, SeaWorld wouldn’t have to paint concrete blue to make its business more palatable to the public.
Ms. O’Connor is a senior writer for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.