SeaWorld is again receiving a lot of negative attention due to the release of a documentary titled, Blackfish. (Here's a link to the article on CNN if you're interested.) Have I seen Blackfish yet, no... do I plan on it, yes.
After reading this article and thinking back to previous debates about SeaWorld and their captive killer whales, I started wondering how other people felt about this topic. Do you think what Sea World does as far as keeping these creatures captive is wrong? Do you think having the orcas perform is cruel? Have you ever been to SeaWorld?
Now for my opinion (and yes, it might be a little bias because I grew up in Florida, not so far from from Orlando)... I have high regards for SeaWorld. I think what they do there is amazing. I have such great memories from my childhood of watching the performances and being able to come so close to a creature in my lifetime I would most likely never see or interact with in nature. (Seeing the trainers dive deep in the tanks and then be shot through the air on the orcas nose was breathtaking and magical.) I think SeaWorld is the cream of the crop, I have attended other oceanariums and so far, nowhere compares. They have the money and knowledge to do great research and care for the animals as needed, and I think it is very unfair that they are being scrutinized as cruel or immoral.
I am capable of seeing all sides of the debate. By nature these animals should be free. And yes, trainers have died in the water (our hearts go out to their families). But look at science and its history, sacrifices have to be made in order to learn and discover. I admit, I struggle at zoos, it is hard seeing the animals confined, but I know they are being treated well and it's for a good cause. I have learned so much by attending zoos and ocenariums, and I know the money I spend while at the parks goes back to the animals, and not only the ones on display.
I think when SeaWorld sees an issue they make an adjustment. Did you know they no longer allow the trainers to perform with the orcas since 2010? But back to the actual debate... its not about the trainers or the money raised, its about the killer whales being confined. Would the debate end if they stopped with the orcas and focused on other sea life... I doubt it, I think the focus would then just shift to another creature. What's your opinion?