SeaWorld’s been facing a real shit-storm for the last few years. Somewhere around the time that the film Blackfish came out, everyone (except SeaWorld employees, apparently) realized that orcas don’t want to be stuck in a pool. Strange how long it took. And now, after a really long time and an internet fight for the ages, SeaWorld has announced that their orca show will come to a halt sometime next year. But it’s a little more complicated than it initially seems.
Although the orca show as it is right now will be cancelled, it looks as though SeaWorld is simply repackaging it with an attraction that will be focused on “the natural behavior of the whales,” according to Joel Manby, CEO. “I really see a company that’s focused on protecting wild animals in wild places,” said the owner of a company that puts wild animals in tiny pools.
Recently, SeaWorld put forth a proposal to expand their San Diego park. The California Coastal Commission offered approval with the stipulation that SeaWorld’s whale breeding program be shut down, citing public outcry against whales living in captivity. Manby, however, wasn’t happy about that. After calling the decision “unacceptable”, he vowed that the company would take the matter to court.
According to The Dodo, Manby called the new attraction a “very marketable attraction that gets a return on investment,” which does make sense, as he is the CEO of a company that exists to make money.
There is the possibility, though,that Manby does have the whales’ best interests in mind–if SeaWorld is able to make a truly “natural” attraction, it could help researchers immensely. Their track record, though, begs to differ.