Animal Advocacy SeaWorld is ending its Orca shows and breeding

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Embattled amusement-park operator SeaWorld Entertainment said Thursday that the killer whales currently living at its facilities will be its last as it will stop breeding them immediately and phase out theatrical orca shows.

The move comes nearly three years after SeaWorld came under pressure for its treatment of killer whales and their trainers in the documentary Blackfish.
More: SeaWorld to phase out killer-whale shows, captivity (17. March 2016)

Americans' attitudes about orcas have changed dramatically. When the first SeaWorld Park opened in 1964, orcas, or killer whales, were not universally loved, to put it mildly. Instead, they were feared, hated and even hunted. Half a century later, orcas are among the most popular marine mammals on the planet. One reason: People came to SeaWorld and learned about orcas up close.
More: SeaWorld CEO: We're ending our orca breeding program. Here's why. (17. March 2016)
 
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do they breed in captivity?
I would have thought being stuck in a small piece of water wouldn't do much for the libido.
 
I am not sure if they do "natural" breeding or artificial insemination. Either way ... this is good news!
 
I've read an article that it's done artificially. Poor animals. It beats me that animals are still held in captivity in this day and age.

I also blame the public who pay to see these silly shows.
 
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Allow me to translate the CEO's language for those of you not familiar with corporate talk:

We make money from entertainment of these animals. It also damages our reputation, which causes us to lose money. We've now realized that, unlike in the past, loss outweighs the gain, and hence we took this decision.
 
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This is a big story here in San Diego. It literally made front page news. There is more to the story and it underscores the value of animal rights advocacy.

SeaWorld wanted to expand the habitat for their captive orca whales, doubling the size. The expansion had to be approved by the California Coastal Commission. Hundreds of activists opposed to the expansion showed up to testify at the hearing. It was a gamble on the part of the activists because a larger habitat would benefit the cetaceans, yet would support further breeding and exploitation.

The Coastal Commission issued a "Solomon's Judgment" ruling in October 2015: SeaWorld could expand the habitat but only if it ceased it's breeding program. SeaWorld went on the defensive with a barrage of advertising promoting the "conservation" aspects of the breeding program and how much the staff cares for these creatures. This announcement last week indicates they have finally accepted that the public does not support this type of exploitation, regardless of the justifications.

This is a huge and rare win for animal rights.
 
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
Captain Paul Watson

Not Good Enough Sea World

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

I’m sorry Sea World, it’s not good enough.

With Tilikum dying and the movie Blackfish hammering down your stock prices you decided to back down in an effort to salvage your brand.

Ending breeding programs is a plus and expanding rescue operations seems good on the surface but there is a fair chance many of these rescued animals will become permanent inmates. Ending circus trick is good I’ll grant you that, but sorry it’s still not good enough.

Partnering with the Humane Society of the United States will of course give the illusion that Sea World is a humane institution. I’m not buying it.

Sea World is not a humane place. It never has been. It never will be.

As I recently described it, your tanks are simply aquatic asylums for cetaceans. The suffering is physical, mental and emotional, in other words it is a perpetual misery and that is a condition that must be ended.

Sea World facilities are in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio in the USA.

The plan to expand to Dubai was foiled by the financial repercussions from Black Fish.

Sea World has eleven Orcas in San Diego, seven in Orlando and five in San Antonio plus five Orcas on loan to Loro Parque in the Spanish Canary Islands. In total that’s 28 inmates, in five aquatic asylums. The five in the Canary Islands will continue to do circus tricks and will continue to be in breeding programs and I’m betting that Sea World will claim ownership of any Orcas born from the five in Loro Parque, and Loro Parque will be free to breed these Orcas with facilities elsewhere in the world. Thus there will still be a future source for new captive bred Orcas.

Meanwhile Sea World is counting on milking these inmates for as much profit as they can bring in for the next few years and they are gamboling on catching more from rescue operations or a lifting of restrictions in the future.

But most importantly with Tilikum dying they desperately needed something to prevent their stock prices from crashing into the basement and recruiting the support of HSUS was a strategic move.

Now this charade of compassion may satisfy HSUS and it may satisfy some of the critics but it will certainly not satisfy all of the critics and it sure as hell won’t satisfy me.

Why?

Because I know that every single day there are 28 Orcas being abused inhumanely in these four facilities. I know that their lives will be shortened, their teeth will be ground down and they will continue to be dosed on drugs and hormones and fed dead fish and most importantly they will continue to be denied the freedom to be what they are – wild and free in the sea, free to roam, free to socialize, free to breed on their own terms without some human masturbating them.

The movement against Sea World must not capitulate to an HSUS endorsed and approved Sea World.

There is an alterative and that is to free the entire 28 into a unique pod. Free them not directly into the sea but into a large fjord, possibly in Norway, Iceland or Alaska. Maintain the entire population in a huge sea pen many miles long where they can learn to hunt again.

Is it possible? We don’t know, it has not been attempted. We owe it to the animals to at least try. I am certain they can be free to learn how to hunt just as Keiko was able to be free and to hunt in the Ocean.

People can still see them as they swim free in the sea.

Sea World is opposed to this idea of course because there is no profit in it, so the only way to convince Sea World to act to give the Orcas their freedom is to continue to force down their stock prices by a continuous educational program and a continuous exposure of the abuses and hardships these wonderful creatures continue to suffer because they remain cash generating slaves to a heartless institution.

My goal is to see the dorsal fins of every captive Orca standing straight and tall and that won’t happen for as long as they are held prisoner in concrete cells.

The choice for us is to accept the strategic capitulations of Sea World and accept the continuation of the Orcas serving their life sentences or we can carry on with what has been our goal from the beginning = emptying the tanks.

Not Good Enough Sea World Commentary by... - Captain Paul Watson | Facebook
 
Nevertheless, these are huge gains. Even a year ago it was hardly imaginable that the breeding program would be shut down let alone live performances. You can spin it as negatively as you want and surely there is always more to be done, but to deny the achievements gained by the activists who participated is insulting and discouraging.
 
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I agree it's a very good start, and if it wasn't for Black Fish, none of this probably would have happened. But, I'm also glad that the Sea Shepherd is pushing for more and isn't satisfied in leaving the remaining whales behind to die in misery in tiny tanks.
 
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I agree, I am concerned about what will happen to the remaining whales. I'm not sure releasing them in the wild is feasible.

I agree with what Watson is suggesting in principle, its just his tone that offended me. I would have said, "That's a good start, but..." SeaWorld is a corporation and they will always be motivated by the bottom line. Now that they realize that acting humanely is in the best interest of the bottom line, it's important to keep the pressure on.