BY MARISSA CUDDY
SeaWorld is evolving. After years of pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other activist groups, they are finally changing how the orcas will be treated.
They recently announced they will stop breeding orcas and phase out theatrical orca shows at all three U.S. locations. The company seems to be leaning toward more animal-free attractions, such as Mako, a 200-foot-tall roller-coaster that goes 70 mph, two other roller-coasters on smaller scales and a SeaWorld-branded hotel in Orlando.
Activists are calling for emptied tanks but SeaWorld can’t release the orcas into the wild. It would be unrealistic and irresponsible. Many of them have never been in the wild and have never had to hunt for their food.
The orcas will more than likely stay at SeaWorld, however, changes should be made to give them a better habitat such as a bigger tank and healthier food.
In a NBC News article, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby said the orcas are best off in the parks, where trainers and veterinarians can take care of them.
However, there are other options to improve their quality of life. For example, they could put the orcas in a sea sanctuary. Sea sanctuaries are pens that allow orcas to be in the ocean without giving them total freedom. The pens would still have to be monitored by veterinarians and trainers to ensure the safety of the orcas but this would allow them more freedom.
SeaWorld needs to continue to look after the orcas they have by making sure they are healthy and happy in their environment. The shows may be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean they should neglect the animals.
The end of the breeding program means the end of orcas in captivity at SeaWorld once the orcas they currently have die, a big win in the fight to empty the tanks.
It may be hard on the company at first, but if they stay focused on other attractions they should survive and flourish. They will also get back on track to becoming respected again.
Orca captivity will always be part of SeaWorld’s history, but it is what they do now and in the future that counts.