Free SeaWorld's Captive Cetaceans

This petition made change with 579 supporters!

Joel Manby CEO of SeaWorld Inc.

Dear Sir,


I am writing a letter that your office has probably received a thousand times. I fully expect this never to reach you, but if it is not too much trouble, I ask you to humour me. I am not under any impression that this letter will change anything, but I have gathered support substantial enough to try.

I love cetaceans of all descriptions, and thoroughly enjoy viewing them. However, though I enjoy watching them in the waters around my home, I do not enjoy viewing them stuck in unnatural, tiny tanks. I, and many others in the world, believe that it is unethical to keep such magnificent creatures behind bars. We know that though SeaWorld paints an picture of a happy environment where its animals are well cared for, there is a long history of cruelty and using innocent animals to make huge profit. From extensive research, I have identified 3 major ethical flaws with SeaWorld’s practices. Firstly, the serious issue of keeping large and intelligent animals in small and unstimulating tanks. Secondly, the even more serious issue of the high death rate of its captive cetaceans. Thirdly, the false claims it makes to be promoting conservation and educating others, all for good publicity.

Firstly, there are many reasons why it is unethical to keep cetaceans in the environments SeaWorld does, and I don't doubt you have already heard most of them. However, it cannot be ignored that it is both impractical and cruel to keep such large animals as orcas, pilot whales, belugas and dolphins in such small tanks as SeaWorld does. In the wild, dolphins can swim over 100 kilometres in a day, in tanks they can swim only a fraction of that. Whales and dolphins, as you know, are very intelligent creatures, and living in concrete boxes, performing tricks for human entertainment is not stimulating for them. Keeping them in such environments is immoral and only further illustrates SeaWorld’s blatant disregard for the wellbeing of their animals.

Secondly, SeaWorld’s animals, though they are treated as well as they can be in captivity, are simply not meant for captivity. They have attempted suicide, died early, been separated from their mothers too young, killed their trainers, ruined their bodies, grown old prematurely and had to be put in solitary confinement to keep them from hurting one another. This is not natural, this is not safe and this is not okay. SeaWorld may try their best to care for them, but there is nothing they can do to supplement the delicate social structure, stimulating environment and long lifespans cetaceans enjoy in the wild.

And thirdly, and finally, SeaWorld tries to paint a picture of a family friendly and kind environment where cetaceans are happy and SeaWorld are committed to conservation and the wellbeing of their animals. I know that this is not true. Of its gross profit last year, 558.27 million US dollars, only $900,000 was given to conservation, that’s tiny. SeaWorld tries to make itself look like a compassionate business when it is anything but. I have been to SeaWorld when I was 10 and even then found it horrifying. That experience sparked my interest in the captivity industry and caused me to begin researching. What I found made me distrust every word of advertisement that comes out of SeaWorld’s corporation. SeaWorld is not kind, SeaWorld is not anything it claims to be, other than an aquarium. Though SeaWorld has stopped breeding its orcas, there are still many other cetaceans who need to be liberated, they don’t need upgraded tanks, they don't need publicity stunts, they need solutions like sea pens, they need compassion.

In conclusion, cetacean captivity is an outdated practice that needs to stop. It is in SeaWorld’s hands to set an example. We ask that you consider halting your breeding problems and looking into solutions such as sea pens. SeaWorld, as the largest marine park company in the world, can set the example for every other park to consider putting compassion over profit and setting their cetaceans free.


Grace McMahon.

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