One of SeaWorld’s most famous attractions and traditions is the orca show. This show famously involves trained orca whales doing circus-like tricks and stunts in front of a live audience.
However, on Nov. 10 SeaWorld’s entertainment CEO announced that the park in San Diego will be ending the orca shows and instead replacing the show with an artificial display of the orca whales interacting in their “natural habitat” even though the animals will still be held captive in a tank.
Even after the decimation of the controversial orca show, some parkgoers and animal activists are continuing to question if this change was made for the greater good of the animals at the park or if this is part of a marketing scheme on the executive’s part.
Another question that has been aroused is whether or not the park should cancel the show in the first place, seeing as how the orca shows have been such an integral part of SeaWorld’s entertainment repertoire for so many years. Yet, the dismissal of the orca shows will resolve much of the heat that SeaWorld has been getting from animal activists, primarily animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Imperial High sophomore David Cassio says that the change is probably a little bit of both a marketing scheme and a favor for the orcas held in captivity, but he hopes that the decision is aimed more towards the animals’ well being.
“I’ve heard that they don’t treat the animals right and it is kind of messed up when you think about it.” Cassio said.
Despite the change, animal activists have not quieted their demands. PETA is making the argument that cancelling the shows is not enough. Rather, the animals should be set free altogether.
PETA spokesperson Jared Goodman said in a statement, “An end to SeaWorld’s tawdry circus-style shows is inevitable and necessary, but it’s captivity that denies these far-ranging orcas everything that is natural and important to them.”
This is not the only time PETA has protested the SeaWorld park’s ideals. PETA has been attacking the park for a while saying that holding these majestic animals in captivity inevitably affects their health and may in fact kill them.
In addition to the many arguments made by PETA, the creation of the film Blackfish which focuses on a captive killer whale at the SeaWorld San Diego park and the adverse effects confinement has on the orcas has also made the point of how captivity kills the animals.
Senior Shelbi Bailey said, “Ever since Blackfish came out everybody has been against animal torture and SeaWorld was the main target in that argument.”
However, despite the fact that people see the elimination of the orca shows as a good thing, many still think that their captivity is detrimental to the good of the orca whales at SeaWorld and the arguments made by PETA and other animal rights groups will not be quieted until the animals are set free.