In early September 2010, a 12-year-old killer whale died at SeaWorld - the third orca to die this year, and the fifth to die in the past three years. The orca who died was named Sumar, the son of Taima, the whale who died in childbirth a couple months earlier, and Tilikum, the whale involved in the death of a trainer at the beginning of the year.
Killer whales are large, intelligent ocean mammals who are very family-oriented. At SeaWorld, the families are split up and the orcas are forced to live in small tanks and to perform tricks for human amusement. It's no wonder that three out of four orcas, who should live to be 60 years old, don't survive their first decade in captivity.
In April the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Oversight (part of the House Committee on Natural Resources), held a hearing to explore the topic: "Marine Mammals in Captivity: What Constitutes Meaningful Public Education?" SeaWorld's claim that their shows are "educational" is one of the many loopholes that allows them to continue keeping and breeding these majestic mammals in captivity.
Tell the members of the subcommittee that it's time to act - SeaWorld's shows exist for entertainment, not education. The death toll for animals and people is too high. SeaWorld should be required to stop these shows and release their killer whales and dolphins into ocean sanctuaries.