SeaWorld, which has increasingly fallen out of public favor since the release of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, has announced a plan to trick the public into thinking it’s actually doing something for the killer whales it’s keeping captive (and driving mad). Per The San Diego Union-Tribune:
SeaWorld intends to phase out its longstanding killer whale show at its San Diego park next year as part of a comprehensive strategy unveiled Monday to re-position the embattled company amid persistent criticisms of how it treats its orcas.
“Oh wow, that sounds great,” you may be thinking if you’ve been following along, concerned about the welfare of these emotionally complex creatures. Perhaps you’ve noticed, for example, that while there are no known instances of orcas killing humans in the wild, there are several instances of them doing so in captivity. “Yay SeaWorld,” you might think after reading that paragraph. Well, think again.
In its place would be a new orca experience debuting in 2017, described as “informative” and designed to take place in a more natural setting that would carry a “conservation message inspiring people to act.” The announcement is contained in a company document posted online in advance of a webcast this morning in which SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Joel Manby and other senior executives will unveil their vision for the company and its collection of 11 parks.
So instead of being made to jump and beach themselves and swim in a tiny enclosure, they’ll just be made to swim in a tiny enclosure. Great. Now the orcas know what it feels like when an air conditioner is installed in the sweatshop.
This comes in the wake of the announcement from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) that will will introduce the Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement (ORCA) Act, a bill that would “phase out the captivity of orcas so that their display ends with this generation.” As the Tribune points out, “SeaWorld has already vowed to fight a recent ruling by the California Coastal Commission to bar it from breeding its orcas as a condition of moving forward with the tank expansion projects.” Additionally, it seems that the proposed phase-out of the orca show only applies to the San Diego park—the Tribute reports that the presentation does not mention the Orlando or San Antonio parks.
This amounts to a whole lot of nothing. Fuck SeaWorld, always.
[Image via Getty]