By Jenny Edengard
Assistant Opinions Editor
Two years ago, the award-winning documentary “Blackfish” premeired (July 19, 2013). Since the release, SeaWorld’s stock has had a dramatic fall. Now, SeaWorld is reinventing itself with a new plan of increasing the size of their pools, and supposedly ending their orca shows in one of their theme parks.
“Blackfish,” a documentary following the captivity of orcas, also known as killer whales, shows the danger of captivating wildlife for both humans and whales. The documentary revealed SeaWorld’s treatment of orcas as to how they use callous practices at their marine-based theme parks. The documentary examined the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau that died at SeaWorld, and interviews with former trainers described how unethically the orcas were treated. The story revolves around Tilikum, a captive killer whale that has taken the lives of several people.
“I felt bad initially as I have been to a show at SeaWorld as a kid, and enjoyed it,” said Rebecca Goch, a senior English major, after watching the documentary. “Now as an adult I was awakened to the tragic reality of animals held in captivity. I would never visit SeaWorld again.”
The effect of the documentary regarding SeaWorld’s revenue the last two years since the release of Blackfish is a dramatic stock decline. Its stock has dropped about 35 percent since it went public in 2013, according to CNN Money.
According to Blackfishmovie.com, in two years, SeaWorld has reported an 84 percent total drop in profits, as figures included a huge drop in attendance rates.
When SeaWorld’s stock started to decline, they first began by fighting back, stating that PETA has been spreading lies about their treatment of wildlife. SeaWorld announced a new project two days after its stock dropped more than 30 percent. SeaWorld’s latest approach is taking numerous steps to boost its image by new ads that feature SeaWorld employees conveying the care that animals receive at its parks.
No matter how they try to reinvent themselves or manipulate their practices, SeaWorld’s latest earnings show that they are losing the public relations battle. As SeaWorld’s revenue has declined, news about them reinventing themselves has spread. However, the change has only been announced for its San Diego Park, leaving with no planned changes at the other two parks in Florida and Texas, according to Blackfishmovie. com.
The latest changes for SeaWorld are that in Sept. 2015, it launched a $100 million plan to increase the size of its whale habitat. The plan has been approved by the California Coastal Commission. SeaWorlds new tank is 350 feet long and 50 feet at its deepest point, according to TakePart.com.
However, in their article, facts regarding the usual habit of orcas are not meet saying, how orcas in the wild swim over 100 miles per day, equivalent to 1,500 laps a day in the new tank. Another aspect is that orcas dive up to 1,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. In their new tank, that would be impossible as it is only 15 feet deeper than the current tank at a maximum of 50 feet
deep. The new plan came with new additions, as SeaWorld has had many lawsuits against them, because of their treatment of wildlife and deaths at their parks. According to CNN Money, a condition for the new plan to be approved was that SeaWorld cannot breed the orcas it currently has in captivity in the state of California. SeaWorld has guaranteed that they will fight the ban.
When I heard about SeaWorld’s plans of expanding their pools, I couldn’t help but think that it’s like kidnapping someone and after a while providing them with a longer chain; it’s not going to do anything but to ease the guilt of the offender. Greed has won over ethics many times before, however, in the case of SeaWorld, they can’t invite ethics into a company built on greed, and to falsely advertise themselves as a company now caring for wildlife would be hypocrisy. The truth of the matter is—they are “reinventing” themselves to avoid bankruptcy, smell the greed yet?
Wildlife is meant to live in the wild—hint: the name. They’re not called pool-life creatures for a reason; they don’t belong in a pool. As little as Orcas deserve to be put in a pool, does SeaWorld deserve a second chance because their new plan is preposterous. No bigger pools or cancellation of shows can ever set the orcas free.
The orcas don’t belong to SeaWorld, they were stolen from the ocean and their freedom was taken away. On SeaWorld’s website, they state that they have rescued over 26,000 animals, and helped them give a second chance. So my question is, why don’t they give the wildlife they have captivated a second chance?