We’ve compiled a list of SeaWorld’s 10 biggest fails. Check it out:

1. When it said that Blackfish is a propaganda film made by animal rights extremists

This was SeaWorld’s response to the documentary from its website:

“[T]hey are the words of animal rights activists whose agenda the film’s many falsehoods were designed to advance. They reveal ‘Blackfish’ not as an objective documentary, but as propaganda.”

… Seriously?!

Concert crew flipping off SeaWorld

This was and still is the company’s main talking point to discredit the documentary, which was critically acclaimed and continues to air on CNN. The filmmaker, who wasn’t even an animal rights activist, became interested in the subject after the death of a SeaWorld trainer in 2010. On CNN.com, she wrote, “I set out to understand this incident, not as an animal activist—because I’m not one—but as a mother who had just taken her kids to SeaWorld, and of course as a documentary filmmaker who unfortunately can’t let sleeping dogs lie.” 

2. When it actually said that collapsed dorsal fins are “normal”

orca at seaworld

Shamu (Tilikum) | Milan Boers | CC BY 2.0 

All the captive adult male orcas at SeaWorld have a collapsed dorsal fin, and the company has said that this is a common and naturally occurring problem. But the truth is that this rarely happens to wild orcas (only 1 percent have this problem), and when it does, it’s a sign that they’re injured or sick. Does that sound “normal” to you?

3. When it claimed to respect the bond between a mother and child


In the wild, orcas stay with their family pods for their whole lives. The company has said that it doesn’t separate mothers from their calves—but SeaWorld declares that calves are full grown at 4 years of age and takes them away from their mothers at this time. SeaWorld claims that this maintains a “healthy social structure,” while it’s actually the complete opposite of how orcas naturally live.

4. When it said that it cared about a “healthy social structure”

© Free Morgan Foundation 
© Free Morgan Foundation


SeaWorld insists that it promotes healthy social structures among the orcas it holds captive. But in reality, the animals are kept close together in cramped tanks, which causes stress and anxiety and often leads to aggression and fights. When a fight or an attack occurs in the wild, orcas are able to flee—in captivity, they have nowhere to escape to.

5. When it tried to make you believe that its orcas are mentally stimulated


The orcas at SeaWorld would have to swim about 1,500 laps a day in their cramped pools to equal the approximately 100 miles they’d swim every day in their ocean home. Their desperation and boredom leads them to display psychotic behavior such as gnawing on the concrete sides of their tanks, which often breaks their teeth.

6. When it claimed that it prioritizes wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation

lolita capture

SeaWorld tries very hard to appear concerned about wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation. However, over the past decade, the company has contributed less than 1 percent of its profits to conservation efforts. #WoopDiDoo!

7. When it lied about the true life span of orcas


Granny, a wild orca who was spotted off the coast of Canada in May 2014, is 103 years old. Other wild orcas have been known to live as long as 90 years—only five of the captive orcas at SeaWorld are over the age of 30. Most of them die in their teens, with the average age being 13 years old—and not a single captive orca has ever died of old age.

8. When it said that it was safe for trainers to be in the water with orcas


An orca named Tilikum was forced to perform in circus-style shows at SeaWorld, despite having already been involved in the deaths of two people. And on February 24, 2010, Dawn Brancheau became the third person killed by Tilikum—a death that could easily have been prevented.

9. When it tried to make people think that its stock was fine



After Blackfish unveiled the ugly truth behind the abusement park, stock in the company took a huge hit, plummeting by 35 percent. SeaWorld also saw a 13 percent drop in attendance, and its market value dropped $1.7 billion. Despite the company’s claims that its attendance was down only because of bad weather and “a shift in the Easter holiday,” it’s clear that many people no longer want anything to do with the torture that SeaWorld calls “entertainment.”

10. When it said that increasing the size of its tanks will make a difference


After its stock plummeted and its attendance dropped, SeaWorld released a media statement stating that it was going to expand the orcas’ tanks—despite the fact that it had yet to apply for the permits required to do so. The expansion plan, which is now expected to conclude in 2018, includes tanks with a maximum depth of 50 feet and a length of 350 feet. In the wild, orcas dive up to 1,000 feet and swim up to 100 miles a day. This expansion will affect only the paying guests—it’ll make virtually no difference to the orcas who are trapped at SeaWorld. The company’s plans are nothing more than an effort to distract us from something that we all know to be true: A bigger prison is still a prison.

For a 30-second rundown, check out this video:

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