1. A History of Violence
When the original Shamu was captured from the wild in 1965, her mother was shot with a harpoon and killed in front of the young orca’s eyes by a marine “cowboy” named Ted Griffin. Griffin’s partner, Don Goldsberry, later worked for SeaWorld and was assigned to bring orcas into the park even as he continued to kidnap and slaughter orcas. He even once hired divers to cut open the bellies of four orcas, fill them with rocks, put anchors around their tails, and sink them to the bottom of the ocean, all to cover up his dirty deeds! 🙁
2. More Orcas Kidnapped and Sent to SeaWorld
Five orcas currently at SeaWorld were kidnapped from their ocean homes—and even more were kidnapped but have since DIED! One of the survivors, Tilikum, has spent 31 of his 33 years in captivity. He was torn away from his family against his will and confined to a small concrete tank, all to make $$ for SeaWorld.
3. Collapsed Dorsal Fins Are NOT Normal
SeaWorld claims that this unhealthy condition is common and natural—but in reality, it’s only normal in captivity. ALL male adult orcas in captivity have collapsed dorsal fins, which is caused by their unnatural environments. FACT: In the wild, only 1 to 5 percent of male orcas in just a few select populations have fully collapsed dorsal fins.
4. Orcas in Captivity Have a Shorter Life Span
Orcas in the wild have an average life expectancy of 30 to 50 years—and it’s estimated that males can live up to 60 to 70 years while females can live up to 80 to 100 years (or more)! In captivity, the average age at which orcas have died in captivity is about 14.
5. Trainers Are Performers, Not Biologists
Contrary to popular belief, trainers often have no formal education in marine biology. Their main purpose is to entertain and put on a “good” show for visitors, not educate people about the intelligence, social nature, or natural families, foraging behavior, and habitats of the animals held at SeaWorld.
6. SeaWorld Fails to Care for Animals
Think SeaWorld cares about animals? These are just a few examples of SeaWorld’s shoddy track record of animal welfare:
- FACT: On January 11, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued an official warning to SeaWorld San Antonio for its “repeated failure to provide drain covers that are securely fastened in order to minimize the potential risk of animal entrapment”—a violation that resulted in the death of a sea lion.
- FACT: In March 2013, prompted by PETA’s complaint about a child who had been bitten by a dolphin at SeaWorld, the USDA conducted an investigation and cited the marine park for several violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including the use of expired surgical materials, some almost a decade old.
- FACT: The USDA also documented that a dolphin tank and the areas surrounding the orca performance tank were in disrepair and contained cracked and crumbling concrete and rusty beams that could pose a threat to the health and safety of both the animals and workers.
- FACT: In July 2014, PETA filed a complaint with the USDA asking the agency to take action and force SeaWorld to give orcas protection from the hot sun. The federal Animal Welfare Act requires that animals have sufficient shelter from direct sunlight, but at SeaWorld’s parks in Orlando and San Diego, orcas have little to no shade. A recent article on TheDodo.com detailed how workers at the facilities routinely cover sunburned orcas’ skin with black zinc oxide. Of course, the black sunscreen also hides burns and blisters from the public eye. Wild orcas spend much of their time at depths that lessen the impact of ultraviolet radiation, but because SeaWorld’s tanks are so shallow, the orcas have no way to dive deeply, much less escape the sun’s burning rays.