By: Alana Dale
For years there has been controversy over whether SeaWorld should be able to take whales and other aquatic animals out of their habitat and bring them to tanks so that they can put on a show. The Orcas in the show have always been a main attraction for SeaWorld, but they are quite large and they are kept in tanks sometimes from birth until death. Although their complaints of mistreatment to the aquatic animals have not been a problem there, many people felt as if they should not have to live their lives in a glass tank and perform tricks just to get their dinner.
On November 9, 2015, SeaWorld of San Diego announced that they are lessening the shows with whales and trying to not have any. In the month prior to this announcement, the California Coastal Commission banned the breeding of killer whales in captivity. It was announced that SeaWorld was taking the killer whales out of the shows. Joel Manby, SeaWorld’s president and chief executive, said “We didn’t do anything in San Diego because of the activists, we did it because we’re hearing it from our guests.” Even though there have been many activists wanting to get rid of SeaWorld so that the animals will no longer be held in captivity and will not have to perform shows, Manby says it was only because they heard concerns from their guests that they made the changes.
Days after the California Coastal Commission banned SeaWorld to breed their whales in captivity, they approved of SeaWorld’s one hundred million dollar plan to double the size of the killer whale habitat, despite the activists pleas for SeaWorld to let the whales go. “SeaWorld has admitted that it intended to breed even more orcas to fill the new tanks, but the commission’s action today ensures that no more orcas will be condemned to a nonlife of loneliness, deprivation and misery,” PETA spokesman Ben Williamson said in a statement. Even though SeaWorld is not getting rid of their whales, the whales will be in fewer shows and will have their tank sizes doubled. Although SeaWorld getting more whales from the wild was never addressed, it is possible that they may do just that since they are no longer allowed to breed their whales.
“Next year will be the last for the theatrical performances and coming in 2017 will be what SeaWorld Entertainment describes as an entirely new orca experience, designed to take place in a more natural setting,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. SeaWorld will still have their whales, but the animals will be in fewer shows and have bigger tanks. These actions will not only be taken at the SeaWorld in San Diego, and there are several other locations. The shows will just be fading out and there will no longer be any breeding. The Orca’s will also have larger tanks.