As rapper Sir Michael Rocks once accurately said, "Fuck SeaWorld."
Since the eye-opening documentary "Blackfish" premiered in 2013, the amusement park has garnered much-deserved negative attention. The film features several former SeaWorld trainers who give detailed accounts of the park's dark past and present, including their continual breeding of a highly aggressive Orca, Tilikum, who killed two trainers and a park visitor.
The film's impact is certainly being felt financially by the park — since it premiered, SeaWorld's profits have plummeted 84%. The park claims it's changing its infamous Killer Whale show, but it still hasn't dropped the act.
Currently, SeaWorld holds 23 orcas in its parks across the U.S. — at least 45 have died at the park.
In honor of World Wildlife Day (March 3), here are just some of the reasons to give SeaWorld the boot:
Orcas are drugged by trainers
Captivity takes an enormous mental and physical toll on Killer Whales, so former SeaWorld trainers say they had to administer drugs to the animals in order to keep them stable. The whales were given everything from Diazepam (a generic form of Valium) to antipsychotics.Obviously, this is a highly unnatural practice that doesn't truly alleviate the animals' stress from being in an unnatural environment.
SeaWorld inbreeds their whales, resulting in myriad medical issues
Nalani, a female orca at SeaWorld Orlando, who is the offspring of a 37-year-old female named Katina and her own son, a male named Taku. So Taku is both father and half brother to Nalani. Another example is Kohana, a female born at SeaWorld San Diego in 2002, who was moved to the marine park Loro Parque in Spain, where she was bred with Keto, the brother of her mother. She gave birth to Adan in 2010, but refused to raise him, so staff had to bottle-feed him.
Orcas at the park die young
In the wild, Killer Whales can live between 30 and 100 years. The average lifespan of an Orca at SeaWorld is 13 years — perhaps because of the stress due to living in captivity, which in turn lowers the animals' immune system and causes them to be more prone to health complications.
Whales hurt themselves trying to escape
According to SeaWorld of Hurt, "Orcas in captivity gnaw at iron bars and concrete from stress, anxiety, and boredom, sometimes breaking their teeth and resulting in painful dental drilling without anesthesia."
Heather Rally, a wildlife veterinarian, told The Dodo she'd seen this in person while observing whales at SeaWorld San Antonio.
"Every single orca that I observed had significant wearing on their teeth, specifically on the lower mandible...They start chewing on their tanks," Rally told the outlet. "There's boredom there as a factor, and there's also stress...as soon as they start doing that they start to traumatize their teeth."
Captivity makes whales depressed
On a trip to SeaWorld San Diego, marine biologist Ingrid Visser told Revelist that she observed a mother Orca that was "too depressed" to nurse her calf. Visser recorded a video of the whales with John Hargrove, a former SeaWorld trainer."Imagine a crying baby needing something from the mother and the mother's so depressed, incapable of taking care of her calf," Hargrove said in the video.