In a huge victory for animal rights’ activists, SeaWorld has announced an end to their Killer Whale breeding program. The killer whales currently at the SeaWorld parks will be the last.
SeaWorld made three big announcements:
The first is the announcement that they will end all orca breeding programs as of today. The current killer whales at the parks will continue in the captivity and care of SeaWorld:
“Times have changed, and we are changing with them. The killer whales currently in our care will be the last generation of killer whales at SeaWorld. The company will end all orca breeding as of today.
We always put the health and well-being of the whales first. We have the leading veterinary and scientific experts in the country to advise us on how to do this in a way that puts the health and well-being of the whales first.
We love our whales and so do many of our visitors and this is about doing the best thing for our whales, our guests, our employees and SeaWorld.”
The second is that SeaWorld will end Orca shows, replacing the with “new, inspiring, natural orca encounters” which will start opening next year:
“SeaWorld’s new orca encounter will take our killer whale shows in a new direction. We will introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters rather than theatrical shows, as part of our ongoing commitment to education, marine science research and the rescue of marine animals.
Everything will reflect the natural world and will focus on the research, education, care and respect that align with our mission to advance the well-being and conservation of these beautiful creatures.”
The last announcement was that SeaWorld is partnering with the Humane Society of the United States to focus on the “health of our oceans and the animals that call them home”:
“Two leading organizations in their respective fields are coming together for an agreement that will further both groups’ missions. SeaWorld and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are joining together in a partnership focused on the health of our oceans and the animals that call them home.
For more than 50 years, SeaWorld has been one of the world’s foremost zoological institutions, inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of the world through personal, interactive and informative experiences.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection and advocacy organization that is seeking a humane world for people and animals alike by driving transformational change in the U.S. and around the world.”
SeaWorld has been attacked by animal rights groups as well as the public ever since the release of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish” which tells the story of the SeaWorld’s Orca Tilikum, who is responsible for 3 deaths and is currently dying.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) stresses that SeaWorld has not gone far enough. They insist that SeaWorld needs to release the orcas they have in captivity into the ocean. SeaWorld maintains that this is impossible, as these whales have spent all of, or most of, their lives in captivity and would not be able to survive in the wild.
Regardless, this is a huge victory and a great step in animal rights and conservation.