SeaWorld Says: No to Show, Yes to Captivity
SeaWorld Entertainment, in an announcement on their website, has listed January 8, 2017 as the last date of their “One Ocean Shamu Show” in San Diego, California. After years of public backlash against performing dolphins (and orcas), the company committed to ending orca shows by 2017 (San Diego location) and by 2019 (San Antonio, TX and Orlando, FL locations).
While the shows won’t go on, captivity will continue for the orcas currently being held in SeaWorld’s tanks. Joel Manby, in an Op-Ed dated March 17, 2016, stated it wouldn’t be a wise option to release the orcas currently in their care.* The implication was that giving the dolphins their freedom was synonymous with handing them a death sentence.
*Source: LA Times, 3/17/16
This is ridiculous. No one would advocate that the mammals be released into the open ocean without any “re-learning” on how to be a dolphin again. Nor has anyone implied they should be simply “set free.” Rather, the ethical and prudent choice would be to establish seaside sanctuaries for SeaWorld’s captive dolphins, where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace and dignity. Not in tanks. Which is cruel.
It’s time for SeaWorld to stop profiting on the backs of their captive dolphins and give them a proper retirement. Now that’s “One” policy we can all embrace.
Featured image: Milan Boers / CC BY 2.0
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It might be true that we don't recall many moments from our early years. However, Cara's first memory of a dolphin had her begging her parents to ask the trainer to let the dolphin go! The problem with captivity was evident to her, even as a 4 year-old child.
A writer by trade, Cara has researched, investigated and documented dolphins suffering in captivity. From documenting dolphins incarcerated in buildings, cut-off from fresh air, sunlight and normal socialization to researching cases of animals imprisoned in solitary confinement, Cara is a dedicated dolphin welfare advocate.
It is her belief that education equals empowerment. The more information shared, the better our choices and knowledge of how to act as a positive and respectful voice for dolphins across the world.
Cara is based out of Canada and makes time whenever possible to observe dolphins in their natural environments. She is writing her first fiction novel but knowing her, the marine world will play a prominent role in her book!
"The use of animals for entertainment is nothing more than an abuse of dominance. Some of the most sentient species on the planet have been exploited to incomprehensible levels, all due to their inherent benevolence. Ironic, considering that we turn to the abused themselves for displays of humanity."
~ Cara Sands