Fans of the documentary film Blackfish will be pleased to learn of the latest actions that animal rights group PETA is taking to end the cruelty of SeaWorld’s captive killer whales. SeaWorld has recently vowed to end breeding programs in their parks, but PETA is further demanding that the orcas be moved outside of the parks and into sea sanctuaries.
Blackfish first brought attention to the issue of captive killer whales in 2013 when the film displayed an intense criticism of the marine-park SeaWorld’s history of inhumane treatment of killer whales, which tragically resulted in the death of three individuals. The film focuses on one 12,000 pound orca, Tilikum, who after being captured off the coast of Iceland and spending the majority of his lifetime in confinement lead to his hostility. The documentary observes the behavior of killer whales in the open ocean compared to those in captivity, and blames parks like SeaWorld for the aggression of whales like Tilikum.
After going public in 2013, PETA bought a number of SeaWorld’s shares in order to influence the actions of the entertainment park such as ending breeding programs, and now the movement towards sea sanctuaries. SeaWorld collaborated with another animal rights group, the Humane Society, to end orca breeding in their parks. This decision was essential for the fate of SeaWorld after Blackfish threatened the park’s future.
PETA’s encouragement for the use of sea sanctuaries allows for the captive killer whales, most who have only ever lived in confinement, to enjoy the open ocean without being fully released into the wild.
Source: Mosman, Josh. “SeaWorld’s orca plan doesn’t go far enough: PETA” New York Post, 15 April, 2016.