I remember my first (and to date only) time going to SeaWorld. I was perhaps 12 years old and while my family didn’t go to any orca shows, we did attend a play that involved seals and sea lions. It was cool seeing them do all these actions such as chasing the actors with a sword or dragging a cannon across the set or diving into the water on command.
I’m sure my story is very similar to every other kid’s account of how they came to view SeaWorld….initially. As many of you may note, a documentary recently came out called Blackfish, revealing the horrors of captivity. I haven’t seen it fully myself, but as a strong animal rights supporter, I’m familiar with all the details. It all boils down to the fact that these corporate monsters are kidnapping children from their mothers (whilst slaughtering most of the family, mind you), forcing them to live in a swimming pool, and perform degrading tricks in a cacophonous sound box. Of course, I’m sparing all the lovely details involving psychosis and animal crying.
CNN is a station that, as a fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, my opinion has grown more morose of. However, their recent decision to actually take a public stance against SeaWorld by airing Blackfish several times over the course of a week has increased my liking of them. Going with their Blackfish streaming, CNN managed to secure an interview with SeaWorld Vice President of Communications Fred Jacobs. Note, this wasn’t a person-to-person interview, but one conducted over the internet, because $eaWorld knows they need to hide their faces when coming up with some BS in the face of logic. In fact, I want to take a response from this interview to point out some of the lies prevalent in the Q&A:
CNN: In your statement, SeaWorld notes that Blackfish “withholds from viewers key facts about SeaWorld,” including that SeaWorld has rescued, rehabilitated, and returned to the wild hundreds of wild animals: do any of those animals include orcas?
SW: …You can read about our role in rescuing killer whales from Barnes Lake in Alaska…and our role in rescuing a killer whale named Springer….We also assisted our colleagues at Dolfinarium in Holland with veterinary care and husbandry for an orphaned and hearing-impaired juvenile killer whale they rescued. SeaWorld was part of the team to help Luna, as well as a young killer whale stranded near Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. We also are regularly called upon to do pathology on beached whales that do not survive.
*Just an FYI, but I’m not paraphrasing Mr. Jacobs’ responses for the sake of painting a one-sided picture as FOX is often accused of doing. It’s just that the parts I took out are SeaWorld referencing documents they had provided to CNN, and it felt unnecessary to include them. They also get redundant with the examples, so I decided to limit them.*
How typical is it of conservatives and corporate machines to use common-man examples when trying to justify their points. Like seriously, does anyone else remember Mitt Romney talking about some (more than likely made-up) woman coming up to him and asking some stupid anti-Obamacare question? I know Democrats do this as well, but it’s an idiotic, pathetic tactic more commonly employed by the right to appeal to their base of “conservative family values”.
Luckily for us, $eaWorld is no exception to this. Why do I say “luckily”? Because most of the time, this ploy involves stretching the truth so tight it becomes a fairy tale. The question asked what orcas SW “rescued, rehabilitated, and returned” back to the wild, not “rescued, rehabilitated, OR returned”. Did SW ask for Springer to be rescued when she drifted away from her family? Absolutely. Did they want her rehabilitated for her emaciation? Yes, who wouldn’t? Did they want her returned back to her pod? Heck no. They wished for Springer to be brought into captivity; to live the life of a circus freak. Because, you know, it’d be her way of repaying the bastards for their humane common sense.
The fibs don’t end there; that whale in Holland that they gloat about helping (whose name I’ve found to be Morgan) is still trapped in captivity by the company SeaWorld provided resources towards.
Last, but certainly not least, Luna, who regrettably got stranded from his family, was, as rightfully claimed, provided help by SW. But of course, SW only cares about the publicity that comes with helping lost orcas, because once the sensation died down, Luna was executed. Now, that last statement is actually very biased on my part, so let me tell you the truth. He wasn’t executed; he died by accidentally running into a tugboat propeller. Why do I yell murder? Because $eaWorld, after aiding in his recovery, chose not to give a damn about Luna returning to his family. For two years, he was kept in captivity as the political robots began to operate. If right was easily differentiated from wrong, we would’ve seen Luna returned back to his pod within a month, but no; because humans have to prove they can talk big, he was confined for two whole years. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out his death was suicide. I understand that it isn’t fair to entirely blame SW for what happened to Luna; I’m just pissed off that they chose to use an incomplete sob story as proof for their conservationism.
In 2010, trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by SeaWorld’s “prized” orca Tilikum (the subject of Blackfish), resulting in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ban in-water interaction between trainers and orcas. However just recently, on November 9th 2013, $eaWorld has decided that, despite the obvious truths Blackfish shoved in front of them, they’re going to have the nerve to SUE the OSHA for implementing this reasonable regulation, due to it violating this principle (in their own words):“…close contact between whales and trainers is the cornerstone of SeaWorld’s mission”. Is that so? Because last I read on the SeaWorld site, the mission statement was as follows:
“To apply basic physiological research efforts and state-of-the-art reproductive technologies toward wildlife species management and conservation.”
Where in that goal does SW claim it wants to kidnap, torture, and condition baby orcas to become toys for humanity to play with? That it wants to brainwash our society’s children into thinking that slavery is okay? That it’s okay to endanger our fellow men and women to accomplish said objectives?
I apologize for the brutal emotion present in this article, but the abuse and exploitation of animals is a pet peeve of mine that I will not stand for, especially when it involves corporations. $eaWorld is an atrocity that, while it does do some positive things in the realm of marine conservation, is ultimately the destructor of many families. They have red-hot blood on their hands. Let’s not let them continue a practice that kills both humans and non-humans alike.
P.S. Guess who SeaWorld got to represent them? Eugene Scalia, son of that disgusting prick of a human being, Justice Antonin Scalia.