SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

P. 645 - A report from SeaWorld's re-opening
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Re: SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

Postby robbalvey » Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:20 pm

DanM64 wrote:
larrygator wrote: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?
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Re: SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

Postby CMV » Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:31 pm

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.

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Re: SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

Postby larrygator » Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:48 pm

CMV wrote: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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Re: SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

Postby ImmelMatt » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:42 pm

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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Re: SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

Postby Cyrbuzz » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:46 am

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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Re: SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

Postby coasterkyle » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:25 pm

I found this on Orlando Attractions Magazine's Facebook
On the bottom right are the protesters ( I think I count 6 )
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Re: SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

Postby bert425 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:28 pm

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

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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Re: SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

Postby Woodie Warrior » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:46 pm

That is the best response to Blackfish I've read.
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Re: SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

Postby thrillrider » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:36 pm

6 protesters and about 500 carloads of people going into the park. I don't think that seaworld has much to worry about.
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Re: SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

Postby Mr Stratosphere » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:12 pm

What a fantastic eye-opening read, a must share.


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