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SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

P. 266: Reef Plunge and more announced for Aquatica!

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Kinda wish they would have started the "damage control" a little bit sooner. I think it has gotten to the point where this letter might not actually help SeaWorld and will just give Blackfish more media attention.

 

It would be great if an impartial third party documentarian could come in and make an object film on how SeaWorld cares for their marine life.

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^I feel that SeaWorld gave the public too much credit. They really believed that people would see the film for what it was and understand that SeaWorld does a whole crapload of good and are good people. Eventually they just had to stand up for themselves as more lies were going around and things were getting out of control. It's sad that it came to that, but I'm glad they put something out.

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^ I also feel that letter probably has been in the hands of lawyers and other senior members of SeaWorld for quite some time. I'm sure they have to really think about what they were going to say and be VERY careful how they were going to say it because they knew that anything they would write would be taken out of context and twisted around in the media.

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I just found a CNN article about the SWO response, and it reads like pure comedy. I want to get my popcorn and watch the comments fly in. See the slanted view for yourself: http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/20/us/seaworld-newspaper-ads/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

And they still managed to mention how they have aired Blackfish several times within that article.

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FINALLY!!!! I was so hoping they'd do that so I could make an accurate decision about the issue after hearing both sides.

 

I was initially for them turning the current Shamu show structures into a habitat for non-releasable whales that guests could watch, but reading this changes that. My two biggest issues were the health of the whales (dorsal fins flopped over, lifespan, ect.) and separating families. Here Seaworld just flat out stated that they don't separate calves and mothers, putting that issue to rest. Now here's where it starts to get gray for me, health. I believe that these conditions Blackfish speaks of (dorsal collapse, failing to live full lifespan) are a direct result of their enclosures, if they exist, but Seaworld says that they're working on improving them, and if they're working on it, then I feel this issue, if it exists, is just part of a transitional thing for them and in 10-20 years, they'll be living to be 100.

 

When I went to BGT this past fall, which is in the same chain as Seaworld, I got a vibe that they really cared for the animals. They didn't run the Cheetahs for some reason, probably because they weren't up to it or something, and I got to see them feed the elephants at Nairobi and they seemed to be having a heck of a time breaking the corn in half with their trunks. I got the vibe that they really cared about their animals and if they feel they can give them the conditions they deserve, the Shamu shows should continue if the whales have fun doing it. Blackfish even included a clip of a trainer saying that a whale wasn't doing it because they had to, they were doing it because they want to.

 

I've always wanted to go to SWO and maybe do a San Antonio trip involving SFFT and SWSA. Manta looks fab, and Steel Eel looks fab. Really hope they can push through and restore what they've lost in attendance, if any.

 

-2012 "I was wrong" Jarrett

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I haven't seen Blackfish, but I do know that dolphins and orcas are among the most intelligent mammals on earth. Imagine to being segregated from the population in a home you didn't choose and having to perform to eat. I do trust they are well cared for and that the employees of Sea World love the marine life they oversee. I just don't think orcas and dolphins should be in captivity. Even though they are cared for, it's cruel and would certainly not be happening by the dolphins' or orcas' free will. So Free Willy.

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That new CNN article made me laugh. It is written in the exact same tone that I try to use when I write new articles for the AAHCS blog. Sensational over the top dramatics that make your issue seem more important than it actually is.

 

I wish I had the money to show my support to Sea World by going there.

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Imagine to being segregated from the population in a home you didn't choose and having to perform to eat. I do trust they are well cared for and that the employees of Sea World love the marine life they oversee. I just don't think orcas and dolphins should be in captivity. Even though they are cared for, it's cruel and would certainly not be happening by the dolphins' or orcas' free will. So Free Willy.

You do know that they are bred in captivity and not taken from the wild. If they were released into the wild they would absolutely die probably a fairly horrific death. So... There is that to consider also...

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Imagine to being segregated from the population in a home you didn't choose and having to perform to eat. I do trust they are well cared for and that the employees of Sea World love the marine life they oversee. I just don't think orcas and dolphins should be in captivity. Even though they are cared for, it's cruel and would certainly not be happening by the dolphins' or orcas' free will. So Free Willy.

You do know that they are bred in captivity and not taken from the wild. If they were released into the wild they would absolutely die probably a fairly horrific death. So... There is that to consider also...

Chris - Here is the actual story of "Free Willy" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keiko_%28orca%29

 

The whale from Free Willy was captured in 1979. He was released back into the wild in 2002 and then died in 2003. He was 27 years old. Most Orcas have a lifespan of 50. Take note of this:

 

Keiko was finally released in the open in July 2002. However, about six weeks later he showed up in a Norwegian fjord, apparently seeking contact with human beings and allowing children to ride on his back.

 

The fact that he lived in captivity for 23 years and then died one year after being released back into the wild makes me think that perhaps freeing Willy wasn't the smartest idea?

Edited by robbalvey
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That's a really good response from SeaWorld, hopefully it gains some traction.

 

That CNN article is ridiculous, they consulted an "expert" who basically ignored the open letter and continued to say that the documentary has been a PR issue for the park (which was already known). Not surprised, I just hope people start to think objectively about this.

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This is, unfortunately, the difficulty with animal parks. Animal rights activists usually go over the top to make claims against them, and every so often they get traction in the media, and then the park has to defend itself. While the idea of animals in captivity is never the nicest thing, those animals do a LOT of good for other animals. How many people in the world would know much about or care about orcas if it wasn't for Sea World publicizing them? The protections that the animals outside the parks gain are often directly correlated to people seeing the animals in the park.

 

I guarantee Sea World was ready for this, I guarantee that most if not all of the people at Sea World truly do care about the animals, how they are, and what they do. I have known people involved with another animal park, and if the animal was sick they would be at the park 24 / 7 caring for that animal.

 

I want to see Blackfish just because I am interested in the 'behind the scenes' stuff that happens at theme parks, although I would expect like any other documentary that you watch to be viewing an extremely slanted piece that is out to tell the story they wanted to tell.

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Like others, I'm really glad to see they released a statement. I haven't seen the film and don't expect to see it but was planning on going to Sea World next time I am in Orlando (I need all the credits!) still hope to if I have time whenever that next trip is.

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Robb, There are two official accounts of Keiko's situation. According to documentation from the Keiko-Free Willy Foundation, the non-profit that sponsored his move to the Oregon Aquarium and then to wild, everything was a success, with the whale hunting on his own and being accepted into an existing family of Orcas.

 

However, a scientific paper by a team of European and American researchers that tracked Keiko after release tells a much different story.

 

I go into more detail here on this ThemedReality blog post. Whether or not you or anyone else agrees with other things I say in the post, this is an important fact that those pushing for freeing the orcas are either unaware of or don't want to admit. Animal rights groups have an agenda and the truth isn't always part of it.

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Not surprised, I just hope people start to think objectively about this.

 

 

Good luck with that!

 

I think this is quite illustrative of the problems that come up when at least part of the news media takes one side of an issue, in this case CNN is obviously on the side of Blackfish, and so puts all this support behind things like kids being on their side and advocating boycotts of Sea World. Why do those viewpoints suddenly have more weight than entire schools having annual field trips to Sea World for educational purposes? They shouldn't, but because CNN decided to take a side, now they will. Ignorant people will believe the spin, and the misinformation provided to defend that spin, and become even more ignorant than they were before.

 

Going back to the kid saying school shouldn't go to Sea World for a moment, I have to wonder...did no human ever have the capacity to think how those whales got into that tank, or realize that the whales were in a tank, before "Blackfish" was aired? I don't get it. "Blackfish" only really stated the obvious with a HUGE negative spin on everything, along with citing some misinformation. The faculty, at least, at that school had to have seen those whales were in captivity during those trips to Sea World, and still went every year anyway. But now that "Blackfish" aired and the kid says school shouldn't go, suddenly the kid is propped up as some crusader in the fight for animal rights? Isn't that indirectly claiming EVERYONE associated with that school is incredibly dumb for not realizing those whales were in captivity? Then, why does one kid's voice against going to Sea World matter more than the voices of millions of kids who demand their parents/schools take them to Sea World every year?

 

It's amazing how willing some people are to go along with whatever they're told to think, even if it directly flies in the face of their own personal experiences, to say nothing of logic and reason itself...

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^Nothing at all, hopefully everyone can get to that stage. I think American's are all forcing their anger on Target right now so maybe this will just go away.

 

Target is giving 10% off this weekend so let's go yell about whales and duck hunters more.

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What is wrong with a rational middle ground?

 

Nothing, however I think at a fundamental level you're either OK with animals being kept by humans (whether in zoos, theme parks, on farms or as pets) or you're not. I fall into the first group, and think SeaWorld are doing a great job.

 

Frankly it would be more appropriate for these activists/PETA to focus their efforts on people who keep goldfish in tiny bowls. But I guess pet owners aren't a big corporation so there's not the same level of community outrage. Gotta fight the Man!

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Of course, this documentary has its own questionable agenda. Is this genuine concern for orcas or an attempt for career advancement? I think Michael Moore is an excellent example. He is worth about $50 million dollars, so his authentic concern for the "underdog" might be disingenuous, especially as he continued to produce films. With any animals, there is the possibility of attack. Zoos also enclose animals. Then there are circus performers and those like Siegfriend and Roy. In fact, Roy Horn was viciously mauled by his tiger. I suppose that one can follow the slippery slope and argue that all zoos are wrong to keep animals captive. Based on this reasoning, schools that cancel trips to Sea World should cancel their trips to zoos.

Edited by Intaman
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I'm glad Sea World is finally fighting back, though I think it is already too late. But I agree with Robb that this probably had to go through so many reviews before being approved, so that was probably the hold up. I hope they will remain aggressive in trying to show the good they do as well.

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Of course, this documentary has its own questionable agenda. Is this genuine concern for orcas or an attempt for career advancement? I think Michael Moore is an excellent example. He is worth about $50 million dollars, so his authentic concern for the "underdog" might be disingenuous, especially as he continued to produce films. With any animals, there is the possibility of attack. Zoos also enclose animals. Then there are circus performers and those like Siegfriend and Roy. In fact, Roy Horn was viciously mauled by his tiger. I suppose that one can follow the slippery slope and argue that all zoos are wrong to keep animals captive.

 

There are movements and campaigns against zoos and circus performers and everything else you had mentioned, not just against SeaWorld. And the director of the film is already on record as saying that she had no real intention of making the film pro x or x in either way and she does not side with either side.

 

I guess where I am coming from on this is (not to get political at all but this is just an observation) but it just seems to be a Democrat vs. Republican type of argument. One side is calling another side idiots, while the other side is calling the other side idiots, each without really rationally and, in an education fashion, explaining their side of things and, in turn, listening to the frustrations of the other side. Or better yet, it is kind of like the latest Duck Dynasty saga with the guy making gay and racial remarks, where his supporters claim freedom of speech, where, if it were a gay person or a civil rights leader making a statement of some sort those same people would be telling that person to shut up (contradicting their so-called stance on freedom of speech).

 

I just think that people are unfairly clumping and generalizing people on both sides of the argument.

 

Personally, I am against holding animals in captivity for purposes of entertainment. I can have fun without going to see animals perform. And before someone jumps on me, yes, I went to Marine World (for the kids out there, the name of the park before it became Six Flags Discovery Kingdom) when I was 7, and went to a SeaWorld park at the age of 12, so I have been to a park. I am an advocate for sanctuaries, and rehabilitating animals in need. And I do give credit to Busch/SeaWorld for the work they do to help animals and the money they have provided over the years. However, I am against keeping orcas and dolphins in captivity for the entertainment purposes they provide. I am not ignorant enough to say that they should all just be thrown into the ocean because that is where they belong. I'm educated enough on the topic to know that they wouldn't have much of a chance of acclimating to their new, vast environment because they have spent all or most of their lives in captivity. I do firmly believe in the off shore sanctuary. However, I do realize that there are some ignorant radical types that would probably be keen on cutting a new of some sort (which is where I have come up with a concept for a large reinforce retaining wall).

 

I do seriously believe that the trainers, and many other staff do really care for the animals they care for at the parks. I do not think they are stupid for thinking they are doing a good thing there. They love the animals. But I am also not blind to know that the executives of the parks do run these parks as businesses, and they are not charities. Their main attractions are these animals. And since they are blocked from a lot of shores in order to capture the animals to bring in to captivity, they breed (which is something else I am not a huge advocate of). I don't consider it conservation when, let's face it, the main reason they are breeding the animals is to keep their parks alive and operational, and making money.

 

So, with that said, I won't pay to get in to a park (I will say that I am going to SeaWorld San Diego in September for a networking event, where I will not be attending any of the shows - I will do my business and leave), but I also will not defame someone who does choose to go in to a park. It is their choice. I respect people's opinions. When I start to lose respect for people, which is happening more and more every day for me on the side of the pro-SeaWorld people and the whatever you would like to call them's, is when name calling starts and there is no middle ground sought by either side.

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