6 Reasons Why SeaWorld Sucks for Dolphins
When I was little, I went to SeaWorld all the time. The dolphins were my favorite animals there—partly because of their big “smiles.”
When I got older, I realized that the dolphins weren’t really smiling. They weren’t glad to be there. Promoting the idea that those amazing animals were happy being imprisoned in tiny tanks was SeaWorld’s strategic way of anthropomorphizing them in order to drive up ticket sales.
The truth about the dolphins at SeaWorld is much darker than the cheery fake “smiles” that the company sells to the world. Here are a few reasons why the park is a living nightmare for these animals:
1. Dolphins at SeaWorld are sexually abused and forcibly impregnated.
SeaWorld continues to breed dolphins for profit, condemning the babies to a life in a concrete tank with little mental stimulation. Unwilling female dolphins are removed from the water and sometimes drugged so that they can’t fight back while staff shove tubes filled with semen into their uteruses—all to force them to produce more animals who will spend their lives in deprivation and captivity. And as long as SeaWorld continues to sexually abuse dolphins, the cycle will never end.
2. Some of them were abducted from their homes in nature.
Imagine swimming in the open ocean with your family and suddenly being captured by humans who have been hunting you. This nightmarish scenario has been a reality for some dolphins who’ve suffered at SeaWorld. Ones like Betty, a Pacific white-sided dolphin, were torn away from their ocean homes at a young age and separated from their families, never to see them again. In 2022, Betty died after spending most of her life in a tank.
3. They spend their days swimming in circles.
Dolphins who were born into confinement suffer, too. In the ocean, these animals swim vast distances with their families, playing and exploring new territory together every day. But those in SeaWorld’s tiny tanks have nothing to do except swim in circles.
4. Being imprisoned is hell for them.
Dolphins at SeaWorld are confined to cramped tanks and see very little each day other than the same concrete walls. Keeping them in tanks is like keeping humans in bathtubs. They’re forced into contact with the public and made to perform unnatural tricks. Due to the long life expectancy of dolphins, some of them have been imprisoned in tanks for over 40 years.
5. Some dolphins have been injured or even died after being forced to perform.
In 2008, Sharky, a dolphin at SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida, was fatally injured while performing an aerial trick. He died after colliding in mid-air with another dolphin. And in 2012, at SeaWorld’s San Antonio park, two dolphins performing a jumping trick crashed into each other, ejecting one from the tank onto the concrete walkway below. The animal lay bleeding and helpless as guests looked on.
6. Confinement often drives them to engage in dangerous behavior.
Confinement to tiny tanks can cause dolphins to become stressed, neurotic, and aggressive. This endangers not only other dolphins but also humans—including children—who are allowed to interact with them. At SeaWorld, children are put at risk every day when their parents pay for them to be able to touch the dolphins. In this video, a dolphin was left bleeding after reportedly being unable to escape an attack by other frustrated dolphins. In the cramped tanks, aggression between the animals appears to be common. They chase, swipe, and bite each other, and many have scars from other dolphins’ teeth.
You Can Help Dolphins at SeaWorld
There’s no question that SeaWorld’s cruelty goes beyond its treatment of orcas. Confining dolphins to tiny tanks is totally unacceptable. Share this post with everyone you know, and urge SeaWorld to stop using animals and to relocate them to sanctuaries.