Why I Hate SeaWorld

I have been to Sea World twice in my life. Once when I was little and later on in High School on a band trip. I admit I had fun and loved being able to see the dolphins and orcas. I also enjoyed the shows. However, I was also, young, naive, uneducated, and manipulated.

I won’t go into great detail about how bad Sea World is, you can always watch the documentary: Blackfish (It is available on Netflix!) or read John Hargrove’s Book: Beneath the Surface (he is a former Seal World trainer who had the courage to speak out). There is also a Ted Ex talk that you can watch by Dr. Naomi A. Rose (a Marine Mammal Scientist ) titled: Let’s Throw Shamu a Retirement Party (It’s on Youtube). And there are many, many articles you can find on Google and read them. (You can also check out an older post of mine here)

I often hear the complaint "who cares about Sea World when there are many dolphins and whales, as well as many other species in the wild that need help." This is true. We are hurting our oceans and need to do more to protect these species (one way you can help is by donating to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation). But that DOES NOT mean the lives in Sea World do not matter. EVERY LIFE MATTERS! To say one is more important than the other is just wrong. Just because there are more orcas in the wild, doesn’t mean the ones in Sea World don’t matter. They are just as important.

There are many elephants in the wild, but the public cared enough to get them out of circuses, so why can't we do the same for orcas and dolphins?

The orcas in Sea World are not okay. They do not have enough space as nothing can compare to the size of the ocean. They are very family oriented. Each pod has it’s own language and culture. There are hybrid orcas in Sea World that would NEVER exist in the wild because the two pods would have never met or mated with one another! Incest would never occur in the wild and orcas at Sea World are forced to breed when they are too young, often at 2 or 3 years, in the wild, it wouldn’t be until they are 12 or 13! The orcas in Sea World are so mixed, many can’t even communicate with each other because they are from two different worlds!

How would you feel if someone took your child from you, locked them a cage, forced to do magic tricks for the rest of their life or they won’t be fed? You probably would be outraged. This is also how orcas feel. Many mothers will follow the boats of their captive young, both crying out to one another until eventually, the mother has to give up. Orca mothers and calves separated in captivity often cry for weeks after their baby is taken from them and shipped away to some other theme park.

Now imagine being that child, being taken from your mother, being forced to perform for a bunch of people because they’ll only feed you if you do what you are told. You have to do that four times a day for the rest of your life. You are caged with someone that you don’t know and who doesn’t speak your language. You would feel pretty much alone. It doesn’t matter if these orcas have other orcas around, they are still alone because that other orca is not one of them. It would be like if you took an English speaking person and put them in a room full of only Japanese, Spanish, French, etc speakers. Don’t matter if there are other people there, they won’t know what is going on, and you will feel pretty much alone.

Knowing what I know now I will NEVER take my daughter or anyone else for that matter to SeaWorld. I will never go again. I won’t let them grow up with the lies, and so they may never see an orca in their life? So what? I have never seen a Blue Whale, Great White Shark, Giant Squid, Narwhal, Red-Faced Spider Monkey, Bonobos, Kagu, etc... in person and my life isn't ruined! I’ve never seen the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum, and I’m still okay! We have documentaries, books, the Internet for crying out loud!

We can’t see everything with our own eyes, there is just too much in the world and we live such short lives. Plus very few of us could even afford to see everything. In the end, I would rather my daughter never see an Orca, than see one that is suffering due to corporate greed.

I am also against dolphins, belugas, and any other large family oriented sea animal being in captivity, but I believe if we win the battle on freeing orcas, the rest will follow shortly.

So what should we do about the orcas in SeaWorld. They obviously can’t go back to the wild, right? Well yes and no. The Orcas in Sea World should be retired to a sea pen. A sea pen is a netted off cove or bay. It will give the Orcas a natural, large environment, but they will also be protected from the wild. This would be great for both the Orcas and SeaWorld. SeaWorld can charge people to go and see the Orcas in this sea pen. The Orcas will no longer have to perform and can live the rest of their lives in a more natural, comfortable environment. It’s a win-win!

Munchkin has actually pledged to help build a coastal sanctuary for orcas through their Project Orca campaign, which you can check out here!

Now, why am I not against zoos? Well, I’m not against all animals in captivity. The problem with Orcas is that they are very family oriented and are intelligent animals. They are basically like us and they don’t thrive in captivity, collapsed dorsal fins are proof of that. They have even killed people (you would go crazy too if you were kept in a bathtub), something a wild orca has never done.

Many animals aren’t as intelligent or family oriented as dolphins or orcas and do just fine. Also, there are some animals that we might only see in zoos one day like the Polar Bear or Panda. And there are some zoos that have/had breeding programs to help wild species increase their numbers and prevent extinction, such as California Condors and Black-Footed Ferrets.

SeaWorld is a corporation, whereas a lot of Zoos are privately or publicly funded. They are not big businesses. Their money goes to the animals in their care, not to some CEO. Now not all Zoos are good, so you have to be cautious as to which ones you go to and support. Observe how much space they give their animals, how they treat their animals. Check to see if they have a breeding program and what it is used for, and always do your own research before going to a zoo.

Animals can't speak our language, so it is up to us to be their voices.

Updated: 5/26/18

Attribution: Image used in blog post photo was found on MorgueFile.