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Since 1985, SeaWorld has been breeding orcas at their parks to perform tricks. To amuse us. To sell tickets.

On June 8th, 2010, it was reported that Taima, one of the females impregnated by Tilikum, the whale involved in the drowning of trainer Dawn Brancheu three months ago, died while giving birth to her stillborn calf.  Just another casualty of the animal entertainment business. 

If anything, the rising human and animal death toll at the marine parks in recent years should indicate that it’s far past time to retire the orcas in SeaWorld’s employ, and allow them to live out their lives in an ocean sanctuary, where they can enjoy a more natural habitat and still be protected from the dangers that their captive upbringing would subject them to in the wild.  

Tell SeaWorld to end its captive breeding program and release its orcas to an ocean sanctuary. While the orcas may not have a voice, you do. 

Photo credit: hyku

Letter to
President and CEO, SeaWorld Jim Atchison
SeaWorld has argued recently that it aims to promote conservation and education about the diversity of ocean life and the marine mammals in its care. But breeding orcas only to spend their lives performing tricks in chlorinated tanks for public amusement serves neither purpose.

I urge you to to phase out your captive breeding program and implement a plan to release the orcas in SeaWorld’s employ to ocean sanctuaries. Continuing to breed wild animals that have a natural migration range of 100 miles and forcing them to endure life in a chlorinated tank, in an environment that deprives them of their primary sensory ability — echolocation — amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. And using Tilikum, whose behavior resulted in the deaths of three human beings, to sire future Sea World performers amounts to willful and wanton recklessness. Twenty-five years of captive breeding won’t eliminate the killer from the whale, and the behavioral and physiological pathologies developed by orcas in captivity make them all the more dangerous.

There are many ways SeaWorld can promote conservation and public education, but captive breeding killer whales and using them for entertainment isn’t one of them. Please phase out your breeding program, and release the whales in your care to ocean sanctuaries to enjoy a retirement they not only deserve, but are owed.

Michelle Hodkin started this petition with a single signature, and now has 3,205 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.