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I don't know, I was sitting at Sea World in San Antonio on the TPR trip last summer watching the Shamu show and it just didn't sit right with me…that weird face the orcas make after a trick when they go up to a trainer and open their mouths for fish, or the crazy stuff they make them do just for the amusement of humans, just don't think it's right.

 

The animals are trained through forming relationships with human trainers and their positive reinforcement. Are you similarly troubled by people who high five their dog, then give the dog a treat? It's the same idea.

 

Okay, so the act of doing a flip then getting a fish isn't a part of an orca's life were it out in the wild, granted. But were it not for those kind of shows that are no harmful to the animal than the aforementioned high fiving your dog, there would be a massive loss in public awareness and concern for those same orcas in the wild. "Save the whales" would have a much, much harder road if nobody ever made close contact with those whales and the other animals at places like SeaWorld, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and zoos around the world. You think natural habitat is eroding today? Just imagine how bad it would be if those places never existed. It's hard to care about animals' natural environment when those environments are far off places you've never seen, while the benefits of its destruction are part of your daily life.

 

We can't understand what we can't learn about, and we would not value what we can't understand. We can't learn without study. Whatever we study we also change slightly. Personally, I don't mind that the orcas lives are slightly altered from what they'd be in the wild given the extreme lengths SeaWorld takes to care for them, in return for the massive amounts of additional awareness generated by their parks and their shows. When you see that look on the orca's face when they ask for a fish, keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that the whale can't just be thrown back into the wild once they rely on having food provided to them.

 

 

If the parks close, Id imagine all the good work they do to support animals around the world would also go away as well.

 

 

Bingo. That's the dirty little secret those animal right activists never seem to be too concerned about. They don't realize that SeaWorld isn't their true enemy. But they can profit and gain notoriety for themselves by attacking SeaWorld anyway because people are largely ignorant, and other corporations can gain monetarily by supporting the attacks.

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Friendly reminder to passholders to make sure you stop at guest services before the end of the year (On the left near the entrance)... as they’re giving out $50 in in-park credits and free drink vouch

Well it’s *definitely* the best waterpark in Orlando for the next few months. Lol

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When do the petitions begin to stop supporting businesses that only pay minimum wage versus a living wage?

 

We could easily shut down 90% of companies.

Edited by larrygator
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I don't understand why they are so hell bent on closing seaworld down, when there are whalers killing whales for meat. Seaworldis aactually HELPING sea animals, not killing them.

 

I agree, people should focus on commercial whaling or go protest in the Faroe Islands or some place where animals are actually being brutalized.

 

I visited Sea World Orlando in August and only got 'good vibes' from the park. They had such a strong focus on conservation and the Shamu show was quite light on tricks. I dunno, people criticizing Sea World recently are just coming across as very sanctimonious to me.

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When do the petitions begin to stop supporting businesses that only pay minimum wage versus a living wage?

 

We could easily shut down 90% of companies.

Why don't all these people fight for something that is actually a problem?

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When do the petitions begin to stop supporting businesses that only pay minimum wage versus a living wage?

 

We could easily shut down 90% of companies.

Why don't all these people fight for something that is actually a problem?

My thoughts exactly.

 

Imagine if for every ignorant post on this subject that was made by fair weather animal rights activists $1 was donated to the Red Cross instead, how much more productive that would be?

Edited by robbalvey
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Y'know what's a shame?

 

That there's no concrete kinds of numbers for the amount of kids who go to a Sea World park, get exposed to these animals, and as a result, go on to become something that promotes the future betterment of animals. The little girl who pets a stingray for the first time and goes on to become a marine biologist, the little boy that had never really given any thought to these creatures before but becomes a vet, even the teenager who finally discovers his calling and becomes a zoologist...there's no way to accurately track the number of times this kind of thing happens. It's an invisible positive.

 

Has Sea World probably engaged in some borderline shady practices at some points? I'm sure they have. But so has Busch, Six Flags...even Disney got in some serious trouble years ago with mistreatment of some indigenous birds on the old Discovery Island. No one's hands are sterile in the theme park industry.

 

To me, the good outweighs the bad. The real test will be when the attendance numbers are released, and we see if this thing had any real effect.

 

And that Journey To Atlantis dip is the wettest I have ever gotten on a ride, bar none.

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Y'know what's a shame?

 

That there's no concrete kinds of numbers for the amount of kids who go to a Sea World park, get exposed to these animals, and as a result, go on to become something that promotes the future betterment of animals. The little girl who pets a stingray for the first time and goes on to become a marine biologist, the little boy that had never really given any thought to these creatures before but becomes a vet, even the teenager who finally discovers his calling and becomes a zoologist...there's no way to accurately track the number of times this kind of thing happens. It's an invisible positive.

 

Another excellent point!

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I find it funny that so many people here are arguing that this documentary was just made to provoke people and make money as a result of their provocation at Sea World's expense? If that's the case, do you see this press release as some kind of altruistic reminder of the good that Sea World does? Hell no, they're protecting their assets. The coin always has two sides, but no matter what side you're looking at, it's still has the element of money.

 

What I'm left with most after watching "Blackfish" myself is that there was a long line of incidents of this nature and Sea World gave a blind eye to it for years as part of the workplace as a trainer. When there is a clear view that these creatures routinely and directly put the trainers' lives in jeopardy, as you see in the incredibly harrowing eyewitness videos and trainer testimonies, Sea World shows ignorance for never addressing it for more than thirty years.

 

Of course, no matter what the quality of the Sea World tanks, captivity is captivity but if these animals are well cared for and well treated, there is scarce little that can be done about it. As one person already said, we don't attack people for keeping pets and it is the same principle. This song and dance never gets old to the activists, but the documentary does raise valid questions about Sea World's past practices with previous trainers and it is important to remember that a five ton whale will always be much harder to put into submission than, for example, a fifty pound dog.

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Went to Sea World today and wow the place was packed. My son and I had a blast and really enjoyed the Christmas celebration. It seems to me that their attendance hasn't suffered too bad from this garbage with Blackfish. I want to applaud Sea World too for not leaving Christ out of the Christmas celebration. This is a great park and I see no malice where their animal care is concerned.

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a friend linked me to this today -- dunno if y'all have seen it, but I think it's a fantastic read:

 

https://www.facebook.com/notes/julie-toma/a-former-seaworld-employees-response-to-blackfish/10152163058773885

 

A Former SeaWorld Employee's Response to "Blackfish"

I've been asked often and recently about my opinions towards this "amazing documentary" that "just came out" on Netflix called "Blackfish". Having worked for SeaWorld for a few years, people are always curious as to what my opinion is.

 

"Julie, have you seen it? What do you think?"

 

Yes. I have seen it, multiple times. My opinion of it is this: I completely respect and agree with the underlining message- whales do not belong in captivity... but neither does any other animal (more on that later). I do, however, find the movie's portrayal of SeaWorld to be horribly offensive and misleading. SeaWorld is not a monster.

 

"But Julie, SeaWorld uses animals for entertainment purposes, isnt this wrong?"

 

Thank you, PETA. Yes, SeaWorld is an entertainent based industry. People all over the world come to see these marvelous animals up close, eat a churro, and then ride the latest roller coaster.

 

But before you go all animal activist on me, think about what your saying. Have you ever been to a zoo? Aquarium? Pet store? All of these animals were placed there to entertain, excuse me, educate you. And they dont quite do it to SeaWorld's standards (Ill get to this later).

 

"But Julie, SeaWorld took these whales out of their natural environment".

 

False. The majority of the whales at SeaWorld were born in the park. Yes, a few were captured more than 35 years ago, but that is how animals were acquired those days.

 

And frankly, where do you think the animals at your favorite zoo came from? Contrary to popular belief, these animals are not usually "rescues".

 

And to be even more frank, how many of you have a home aquarium??? Where do you think these fish came from? That's right. They're captured from their native environment, oftentimes shocked, meanstwhile depleting coral reefs in hopes that these stressed fish might make it to your aquarium, where, lets face it, they usually die.

 

"But Julie, the tanks the whales are in are like bathtubs"

 

Ugh. This one gets to me the most. At least use your own wording! Yes, the exhibits the whales are in are no where close to being the size of the ocean. But they are VASTLY larger than the size of most animal enclosures. True, these animals can swim hundreds of miles a day.... but think about other enclosures. Elephants can walk up to 40 miles a day and yet I rarely see an enclosure larger than 2000 ft.

 

And bird cages? Fish tanks? Why is it that no one is offended by any of this?! It's okay to put a goldfish in a bowl but not okay to have whales in a 60 million gallon environment? An enclosure that SeaWorld has spent over 70 million dollars to improve?

 

"But Julie, these animals are forced to perform shows. They're slaves."

 

Inaccurate. The whales at SeaWorld are never forced to do shows. They get an alloted amount of restaurant quality food based off of their fitness level, size, and metabolism. And they are fed regardless of if they do a show.

 

"But Julie, it's cruel to force these animals to do "tricks".

 

These "tricks" are actually positively reinforced behaviors that the whales have learned through positive interactions and operant conditioning. Studies have shown that learned behaviors like this actually increase an animals mental health prolonging their fitness and increasing quality of life.

 

 

"But whales dont do flips in the wild"

 

....and your dog doesnt naturally give you his paw when he wants a treat, but he is capable. Training behaviors like this, once again, encourages mental and physical growth. If the whales were incapable, they wouldnt do it.

 

"Cant they just stop making the whales do shows?"

 

Sure, but there is no positive reprocussion to that. Without enrichment, whales would resort to common boredom behaviors seen in zoos and institutions around the world. Plus, the interations the whales have with the trainers is a form of bonding for the whales. If they suddenly discontinued, the whales would display depression behaviors. I dont know about you, but I am highly against intentional depression.

 

"Cant you release them? They'll be happier"

 

Look up the story of Keiko, the whale from "Free Willy." That's what happens when you release a captive killer whale. They are not equipped to live in the open ocean environment anymore.

 

"Okay, what about a seapen then? Its bigger and the whales would be interact with their natural environment"

 

These whales currently thrive in multi-sourced continually filtered water environment. These means they are never exposed to pathogens, parasites, or heavily contaminated water. Putting them in a sea pen would expose them to a variety of potentially killer organisms. Not only that but they would be exposed to countless amounts of new sights, sounds, and vibrantions, causing an immense amount of stress.

 

"But Julie, there is absolutely no benefit to having these poor creatures at SeaWorld."

 

SeaWorld has impacted the lives of over 400 million visitors over the timespan they've been in business. That is 400 million people that have been affected by the beauty of not only the killer whales, but of over 6000 species of animals they would not come in contact with on a normal basis.

 

"SeaWorld is not educational".

 

Excuse me? The top leading research done on both killer whales and other cetaceans comes from SeaWorld sponsored research. Most of what we know today about these animals has been learned from animals in captivity.

 

"Cant we learn simply by observing them in the wild?"

 

Theoretically, sure. But any scientist (or grad student) will tell you how difficult it is to study animals in the wild. You can sit and observe 24 hours a day and only witness about 15 minutes of usable data.

 

And good luck funding that research. It's an unfortunate fact that people do not support things that do not benefit them directly. SeaWorld contributes millions upon millions of dollars to variety of conservation programs in the wild, including the Marine Mammal protecion act and Sea Turtle conservation. Finding funding from a private, independent source is unlikely and unreliable.

 

"Okay... well... umm... what about the dorsal fin thing?"

 

Dorsal fins are made out of cartilage, a flexible structure that makes up your nose and ears. The size of the dorsal fin is cause by a multitude of things, including genetics. Many of our whales come from a similar bloodline (not crossbred) and therefore have larger dorsal fins.

 

Although not common in the wild, a whale's dorsal fin, especially larger ones, may bend. This may be an effect from more surface exposure combined by genetics. There have been no indications that this affects the animals well-being in any way. It's a fact of life. Sometimes we get droopy body parts too....

 

"Why can't SeaWorld just go to be all educational? Obviously people would respect it more."

 

Nature Centers and educational facilities are amazing ideas and do many great things. Unfortunately, not many people go out of their way to visit them and they can go out of business (Chula Vista Nature Center...anyone?). People, unfortunately, are selfish beings. They want to be entertained, not lectured. So although the conservation message is taught at many of these amazing facilities, they are not affecting as many people as you would think.

 

SeaWorld's message is this: to celebrate, connect, and care for the natural world we share through the power of entertainment. People come into the parks with an expectation and leave with an appreciation of marine life they've never had before. I cannot begin to tell you how many kids Ive heard say that Shamu changed their life. That they want to stop polluting the ocean. That they want to save the sea turtles. SeaWorld is a memory that they will have forever and oftentimes changes their entire outlook on life.

 

So, before you boycott SeaWorld, realize that you're not boycotting the evil corporation "Blackfish" makes it out to be. You're boycotting Bruce, the 80 year old sea turtle who was rescued not only once, but twice after being shot in the head and left for dead by people who didn't care. You're boycotting Iris, the rescued seal who was found stranded and blind and then rereleased, able to see again. You're boycotting the 650 juvenille sea lions rehabilitated and taught to eat after they were stranded on the Pacific Coast. You're boycotting the baby emperor pengiuns, just hatched, ensuring the future families of penguins to come. You're boycotting the hundreds of dogs adopted from shelters thanks to Pets Rule. You're boycotting the group of high schoolers collecting trash off the shoreline after talking to the veterinary department behind the scenes and seeing the effects of trash in our ocean.

 

If you need a summary of what SeaWorld is today, I ask you to look at me as a reflection. To look at the 1500 zoological team members that provide the upmost care to these animals. SeaWorld is one of the worlds most respected zoological facilities, setting the bar for husbandry standards today. We are SeaWorld. We are the people who cant drive by a lost dog on the street. We're the people who stay awake overnight, waist deep in frigid water carrying a stranded dolphin that wasn't strong enough to swim. We're the ones that cry the moment a sea turtle swims off into the ocean water after being hit by a boat. We are the ones whose heart rate accelerates the moment a mother gives birth to a beautiful calf. We're the ones whose muscles ache after scrubbing oil off of birds trapped after a spill. We're the ones hand feeding that abandonded baby otter in the wee hours of the night.

 

So once again, don't believe everything you see and don't assume you know everything because a "documentary" tells you so. Educate yourself. SeaWorld is not the enemy, there are bigger evils in the world. We do not go out of our way to torture and "enslave" animals. We love and know more about those animals than "Blackfish" would ever care to let you know. It is because of SeaWorld, and places like them, thst you even care about these animals in the first place. I am very proud to be a part of the SeaWorld family and always will be.

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Definitely an eye opener, my gf and I watched the movie last night and I was just astounded with what Sea World is doing. I can say that the incident at Loro Parque could have been prevented, that park wasn't ready to take on killer whales. Even the tanks were to small, all because the owner didn't want to shut down the tanks to have them be proper tanks. And even in the movie they didn't say how that trainer died, all they did say (actually his wife), that it looked like his chest had exploded.

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Maybe an unpopular view here, but is it not possible that SeaWorld is simply on the wrong side of history? Regardless of how well SeaWorld treats its animals (I'll admit, pretty well for what its worth), and no matter how educational it is (SeaWorld Camp Class of 1999 here), I don't see SeaWorld, any zoo, Circus, or animal performance for that matter, being around in 50 years, and here's why. It can often be more damning for someone to hit a dog than to hit a person, or for cattle to be treated, well, like cattle. Culturally, westerners have started to treat different species with a sense of individuality, with all creatures entitled to a bit of self-determination. Whether or not you agree with this, I think this shift is what will be the undoing of these forms of entertainment. Sometimes it seems to me that SeaWorld has already taken this cultural shift to heart, focusing more on roller coasters and other attractions that are just barely related to the ocean and its living contents. I love SeaWorld, and miss the years I spent living within 20 minutes of one, but I just don't see it being to cultural force it once used to be for much longer.

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Sometimes it seems to me that SeaWorld has already taken this cultural shift to heart, focusing more on roller coasters and other attractions that are just barely related to the ocean and its living contents.

What?

 

SeaWorld Orlando just spent millions on a new penguin habitat this year. Last year they opened up a new sea turtle exhibit along with upgraded the manatees area. SeaWorld San Antonio just debuted a new animal show this year. All three SeaWorld parks premiered a new Shamu show only two years ago. And I think all the parks are promoting seasonal events which revolve around holiday versions of their popular animal shows.

 

Sure, they are building rides and roller coasters, but I actually don't see them shifting away from animal exhibits, not in the slightest.

Edited by robbalvey
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Maybe an unpopular view here, but is it not possible that SeaWorld is simply on the wrong side of history?

 

This is one of those meaningless buzzword phrases that I really wish would die in a fire.

 

Call me crazy, but I don't think anyone besides Blackfish's makers/supporters are going to look back with even the smallest bit of regret at all the good SeaWorld has done for animals and all the additional awareness SeaWorld has generated within the mass populace.

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Sometimes it seems to me that SeaWorld has already taken this cultural shift to heart, focusing more on roller coasters and other attractions that are just barely related to the ocean and its living contents.

What?

 

SeaWorld Orlando just spent millions on a new penguin habitat this year. SeaWorld San Antonio just debuted a new animal show this year. All three SeaWorld parks premiered a new Shamu show only two years ago. And I think all the parks are promoting seasonal events which revolve around holiday versions of their popular animal shows.

 

Sure, they are building rides and roller coasters, but I actually don't see them shifting away from animal exhibits, not in the slightest.

I was thinking the same thing when I read this "what?" as a regular orlando visitor, I finally was able to take my 18 year old niece in November, she loves rollercoasters like me. we hit all the parks and all the rides and she had the time of her life, but the things she is still talking about are feeding and touching dolphins and stingrays, feeding sharks and sea lions, and how touching the shows were.

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Sometimes it seems to me that SeaWorld has already taken this cultural shift to heart, focusing more on roller coasters and other attractions that are just barely related to the ocean and its living contents.

What?

 

SeaWorld Orlando just spent millions on a new penguin habitat this year. Last year they opened up a new sea turtle exhibit along with upgraded the manatees area. SeaWorld San Antonio just debuted a new animal show this year. All three SeaWorld parks premiered a new Shamu show only two years ago. And I think all the parks are promoting seasonal events which revolve around holiday versions of their popular animal shows.

 

Sure, they are building rides and roller coasters, but I actually don't see them shifting away from animal exhibits, not in the slightest.

 

 

To add to what Robb said, both Manta roller coasters debuted with new aquariums throughout the queues. Busch Gardens Tampa opened a new Cheetah enclosure with it's newest roller coaster.

 

I think the parks realize the time has come to add more thrilling attractions. They do a beautiful job incorporating the attractions and exhibits together.

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That was a really good article!

 

"SeaWorld is not educational".

 

Excuse me? The top leading research done on both killer whales and other cetaceans comes from SeaWorld sponsored research. Most of what we know today about these animals has been learned from animals in captivity.

 

 

I've noticed that some of the CNN coverage is dying down with other news events becoming front page and with Christmas/New Years around the corner. By the start of the New Year, this topic (Blackfish vs. Sea World) will die down in the news and the only thing keeping the story alive is the bands removing themselves from the B-B&BBQ event.

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Maybe an unpopular view here, but is it not possible that SeaWorld is simply on the wrong side of history? Regardless of how well SeaWorld treats its animals (I'll admit, pretty well for what its worth), and no matter how educational it is (SeaWorld Camp Class of 1999 here), I don't see SeaWorld, any zoo, Circus, or animal performance for that matter, being around in 50 years, and here's why. It can often be more damning for someone to hit a dog than to hit a person, or for cattle to be treated, well, like cattle. Culturally, westerners have started to treat different species with a sense of individuality, with all creatures entitled to a bit of self-determination. Whether or not you agree with this, I think this shift is what will be the undoing of these forms of entertainment. Sometimes it seems to me that SeaWorld has already taken this cultural shift to heart, focusing more on roller coasters and other attractions that are just barely related to the ocean and its living contents. I love SeaWorld, and miss the years I spent living within 20 minutes of one, but I just don't see it being to cultural force it once used to be for much longer.

 

The Eagles gave Michael Vick another huge contract after he willfully hosted dog fights at his house. America doesn't really care about animals to the point where they will be given the same rights as humans. The majority of people simply care about what is the hot item at the time...anyone remember the KONY 2012 stuff?

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