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Old 08-15-2014, 06:08 PM   #1

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SeaWorld to increase size of killer whale enclosures


SeaWorld is giving its killer whales a little more space.

The amusement park company said it will double the size of the animals' habitats at its three parks. The first of the new killer whale exhibits will open to the publicin San Diego in 2018.

New habitats will roll out at its other two locations in Orlando, Fla., and San Antonio will follow at some point after that.

The move comes amid a backlash following the release of Blackfish, a documentary aired by CNN that examined SeaWorld's treatment of the animals in a heavily critical light and questioned whether they should be held in captivity at all.

In a news release, SeaWorld said that the new enclosures, dubbed the "Blue World Project," will add 5 million gallons to the killer whale tank create a maximum depth of 50 feet and simulate underwater currents as well.

The new exhibit will also feature a simulated shoreline.

The company also said it will donate $10 million to study the welfare of killer whales in the wild and start a yet-to-be-disclosed "multi-million partnership focused on protecting the ocean."

Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was not satisfied by SeaWorld's announcement, pushing instead for the whales' release to sanctuaries.

"A bigger prison is still a prison," the group said in a statement.

Attendance at SeaWorld parks has declined since Blackfish premiered last year, and Southwest Airlines (LUV) dissolved its 26-year long partnership with the company.

SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) said it expects sales to fall by as much as 7% for the year. Its shares fell by a third after the company reported its quarterly earnings Wednesday, and they're flat today.
I thought it was interesting that they are taking action although they claimed Blackfish was fiction, but also wonder what a "Killer Whale sanctuary" would be like PETA proposes...
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Old 08-27-2014, 12:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by doconeill View Post
I thought it was interesting that they are taking action although they claimed Blackfish was fiction, but also wonder what a "Killer Whale sanctuary" would be like PETA proposes...
Whilst I have no doubt that many of the trainers and handlers care for those animals in captivity, the motivating factor for the corporation is profit. Anything that affects the bottom line, fiction or otherwise, has to be dealt with.

Strongly deny the allegations, whilst attempting to address the issue... out the kindness of their corporate "hearts".

There is no argument here, capturing and holding these animals is wrong. I'm not saying don't do it, I'm saying if we do, let's not pretend it's all good.

Now before people get all jumpy, clearly there are conservation and protection programmes, mostly to undo damage caused by man though, sadly. Those programmes have varying degrees of validity without question.

Pete has ranted a bit on this, and some of his comments are hilarious. For instance he called the people behind Blackfish Left Wing in nature. What has socialist politics to do with animal welfare? God only knows

Seems the biggest issue is that Blackfish paints one picture. Of course it does, like all forms of advertising, it's trying to manipulate the public to achieve a result. Like all "good" advertising, it has worked to an extent. Pete called this "unfair". It's not unfair, it's systemic.

To answer your question about a PETA sanctuary. I'd guess...

- animals are not made to perform tricks for the amusement of the public
- animals are kept in an area of the sea that is cordoned off in some way
- food is made available
- constant monitoring and intervention as needed
- offspring are released into the wild where possible

It's a tough call, as John Magi said on the show, these animals cannot be released into the wild. He's absolutely right about that, but I imagine nothing short of the points I've listed and probably a whole lot more would satisfy animal rights campaigners. Now that "success" has been achieved, I imagine more pressure will follow. I don't envy Seaworld. Their whole organisation is built on this.

Animal Kingdom aside, Disney must love their animatronic creatures right now
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