12 Reasons Why SeaWorld Is F*cked-Up
SeaWorld. Just the name makes us cringe. This marine park company profits off animals’ misery by keeping them in cramped concrete tanks and forcing them to perform.
SeaWorld’s PR team is working overtime to create the illusion that the company is a “conservation” organization, but we aren’t falling for it. (More on that below.) Years of intense campaigns by PETA and other animal rights supporters have exposed SeaWorld for what it is: a f*cked-up business that starves smart, social animals of stimulation and causes them psychological distress. Exactly how is SeaWorld f*cked-up? Let’s count the ways.
SeaWorld has done the following:
1. It Has Captured Animals in Nature
SeaWorld used to kidnap whales, dolphins, and other animals from their families and plop them in barren tanks thousands of miles from their homes. For its first-ever orca show in 1965, SeaWorld featured an orca named Shamu, whose mom was shot and killed right in front of her during her capture.
Although the company no longer breeds orcas, it breeds other dolphins and whales to fulfill its desire for new animals. At least as recently as 2011, it reportedly took 10 penguin chicks from Antarctica who were still dependent on their parents and shipped them to SeaWorld San Diego for “research” and public display.
2. It Keeps Animals in Tiny Enclosures
Imagine being trapped in a bathtub for the rest of your decades-long life. This is what it’s like being an orca confined to a tiny tank at SeaWorld. These massive animals need vast waters where they can swim up to 150 miles per day in close-knit groups that work cooperatively.
At SeaWorld, they are often trapped with mismatched tankmates and spend their entire lives floating around in barren enclosures—except when they’re performing tricks in exchange for dead fish.
3. It Has Separated Animals From Loved Ones
In 2017, SeaWorld broke up two polar bears—Szenja and Snowflake—after they’d lived together for 20 years, leaving Szenja without any other polar bears to interact with. She died two months later—prob with a broken heart. 💔 SeaWorld also separated four orcas from their fams and shipped them to Loro Parque in Spain. Two of them have already died decades short of their natural life expectancies.
4. It Causes Psychological Distress
Imprisoning animals can cause them to snap. SeaWorld’s stressful conditions have pushed animals to display abnormal neurotic behaviors. For example, orcas have peeled each other’s skin off, attacked each other, and destroyed their teeth by biting on the concrete sides and metal gates of their tanks. Staff members even drug some animals in an attempt to calm them down. (Sending them to a seaside sanctuary would work so much better, y’all.)
5. It Sexually Abuses Animals
To produce as many prisoners as possible, SeaWorld sexually stimulates male dolphins and forcibly impregnates females with their sperm. 😨 The company removes the females from the water and often drugs them to subdue them. Some have been repeatedly impregnated, only to give birth to stillborn babies.
6. It Ships Animals as if They Were Packages
In 2015, SeaWorld used FedEx to ship 20 penguins across the country, forcing them to stand on blocks of ice inside small plastic crates as though they were packages of frozen food. Just last year, the company secretly shipped 24 dolphins to Abu Dhabi to be put on display at its park there.
7. It Puts Animals on Display
Animals at SeaWorld are presented to noisy crowds—but not by choice. The company imprisoned an orca named Kasatka for nearly 40 years and made her perform up to eight shows per day until she developed a chronic illness and died.
After pressure from a PETA campaign, SeaWorld agreed to stop letting trainers stand on dolphins’ faces and backs in cruel circus-style shows—but dolphins and other marine mammals are still forced to perform and remain on display in tiny tanks for people to gawk at.
8. It Offers ‘Touch Tanks’
“Touch tanks” are unsanitary, shallow prisons for marine animals. SeaWorld lets humans grab, poke, and prod these animals, which contaminates the water with bacteria. The animals often spend their entire lives swimming endless laps in these crowded tanks while being touched without their consent.
These tanks can be deadly—in 2015, 54 stingrays on loan from SeaWorld died after a malfunction in the touch tank’s life-support system caused the oxygen level to plummet.
9. It Doesn’t Require Trainers to Be Marine Biologists
The main purpose of SeaWorld’s parks isn’t to care for animals—it’s to profit from entertaining humans. Want a messed-up example? Trainers at the park rarely have formal backgrounds in marine biology. 🤦♀️
For a company called SeaWorld, you’d expect employees to be sea-knowledge pros—but informing people about animals’ natural lives isn’t the parks’ goal. Case in point: In 2021, SeaWorld donated less than 0.1% of its profits to its conservation fund.
10. It Tells Workers to Keep Quiet
According to an article from The Travel, SeaWorld forces employees to hide the company’s true cruelty from the public. People deserve to know what’s really going on, which is why PETA works hard to expose SeaWorld’s B.S.
11. It Causes Deaths
Countless animals have died on SeaWorld’s watch, including about 400 pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses) and over 500 dolphins and whales. Some of the deaths were straight-up gruesome.
Remember Kasatka the orca? Her mate, Kotar, died after a pool gate closed on his head and fractured his skull. In 2015, a beluga whale named Nanuq died as a result of an infection that was likely caused after he shattered his jaw during an altercation with two other whales.
12. It Puts Humans in Danger
SeaWorld has documented over 100 incidents of orca aggression across its locations. Orcas are hardly ever aggressive toward humans in nature, but the frustrations of captivity can cause them to lash out. One orca named Tilikum, who spent over 30 years in captivity, ended up killing three humans. Other dolphins have even bitten children at the parks during direct encounters.
Isn’t that all f*cked-up? 😤
Marine animals deserve to enjoy their lives with loved ones in the vast open ocean—not to suffer in a tiny tank with little to do and nowhere to go. Everyone needs to know what SeaWorld is doing to these animals and why we need to stop it now. Spread the word in a way that’ll catch people’s attention—write #BoycottSeaWorld in the sand or with chalk on a sidewalk, take a pic, and post it on social media. Be sure to screenshot your post and submit it for 25 peta2 points!