SeaWorld does more good than harm

The truth about SeaWorld is that it treats animals like royalty, and it is a leader in wildlife rehabilitation and conservation.

But it has been shown in a bad light.

The documentary Blackfish was released to convince viewers that SeaWorld was inhumanely treating their animals and killing its employees. The point of this movie was to manipulate people into believing that SeaWorld should be shut down.

That movie is untrue and misleading.

In reality, the animals that call SeaWorld home are in the best care they could possibly have. The work that SeaWorld does to save injured and abandoned wildlife makes sure that the necessary species receive the help they need.

A great deal of the information in Blackfish has been proven false. One of the former SeaWorld trainers, Mark Simmons, who was interviewed for the movie, released a statement saying that his interview was misconstrued.

He claimed that the creators of Blackfish picked apart his words to make it sound like he believed that SeaWorld deceives its trainers and the public.

While this statement was made through a SeaWorld commercial, it still should hold some weight.

Even the family of trainer Dawn Brocheau, who was killed by an Orca at SeaWorld, made a statement saying that she would never have dedicated 15 years of her life to SeaWorld if it were mistreating its animals.

Kyle Kittleson, A former SeaWorld employee released a 17 minute video responding to Blackfish.

In this video, he claims that only 15 percent of Blackfish is true. Kittleson talks about his own experiences at SeaWorld, why the trainers featured in Blackfish may have been biased, and why he thinks it’s important for zoos and aquariums like SeaWorld to stick around.

SeaWorld has released many commercials aimed at disproving Blackfish with the goal of showing the public that it has the lives of its animals and its employees in mind at all times.

For example, SeaWorld has started using air vests for trainers, so that they can breathe in case of an emergency. Furthermore, SeaWorld is planning a huge upgrade to its Orca facilities, making them bigger and more natural.

Contrary to popular belief, the animals at SeaWorld receive top-notch care.

SeaWorld has five full-time trainers assigned to each whale, a local and national veterinary team and staff dedicated to maintaining every aspect of their water quality. The whales are also provided with enrichment multiple times a day.

Some may say that the tanks are too small. Kittleson tells us that the whales have the choice to go in and out of each pool (big and small) and most of the time, they choose to stay in the smaller pools.

Additionally, all of the whales at SeaWorld have been bred there, and would not be able to survive in the wild. And there’s a good reason orcas are sheltered: conservation.

Like any other zoo or aquarium, SeaWorld’s purpose is to teach. It welcomes thousands of children through its gates each year, offering an invaluable, educational experience for young minds to learn about endangered species – and maybe even love them.

Another overlooked reality about SeaWorld is it gets hands-on with wildlife rehabilitation. That’s right, SeaWorld actually does save animals.

Some people call SeaWorld a huge organization, the sole purpose of which is making money. Yes, it does make money. And the money that doesn’t go to keeping the parks running is used to for conservation, in the field and in the lab.

SeaWorld San Diego’s stranded animal rescue team saved 440 animals last year alone, and SeaWorld claims that it has rescued 23,000 animals in the last 40 years, according to an article by VoicesofSanDiego.org, a non-profit news organization.

SeaWorld also participates in research. It has Hubbs-SeaWorld research institute, which is dedicated to providing solutions to humanity’s effects on the natural world.

SeaWorld also has a reproductive research center that focuses on understanding reproductive relationships, natural and assisted breeding strategies, maintaining genetic diversity, and population management as well as overall conservation.

SeaWorld is not the evil monster that so many people have made it out to be. SeaWorld provides excellent care not only for the animals in its parks, but also for those in the wild. It is important to have an organization to save animals and to inspire future generations to care about the conservation of animals.

Taylor Morton is a freshman studying wildlife ecology and conservation from Pasadena, Calif. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected] The opinions expressed in this Column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of The Office of Student Media.