For decades, animal activists have fought to end the use of killer whales in entertainment-based marine parks like SeaWorld.
Many believe that the cruel practice of tearing calves from their mothers, keeping them in impossibly small environments, and forcing them to perform needs to end for both the animal’s sake and the safety of their trainers.
For years, SeaWorld refused to budge. They insisted that their orcas were exceptionally well-cared for and even enjoyed their daily performances. But today, orca advocates received some amazing news.
For decades, SeaWorld has captured orcas and bred them in captivity to use them in their live shows.
Activists have fought these practices for just as long, arguing that tearing a calf from its mother, raising it in cramped conditions, and putting it under the daily mental stress of a live performance is a crime against life.
For years, SeaWorld insisted that their orcas are happy, healthy, and even enjoy performing. They claimed this despite overwhelming evidence that orcas live up to 20 years less in captivity.
Things have gone badly for SeaWorld. In 2010, trainer Dawn Brancheau was attacked and killed by a captive orca named Tilikum.
Her story became the focus of the high-profile documentary Blackfish, which exposed the public to the cruelty — and danger of keeping orcas in captivity.
Since the film’s release, public opinion has turned against SeaWorld with overwhelming force. On Monday, in the face of declining attendance and profits, SeaWorld finally announced that it will be phasing out live orca shows in all of their parks!
While this does not mean an end to captivity for the 24 whales kept by SeaWorld, putting a stop to these performances will drastically improve their quality of life.