Why Condemning SeaWorld Is A Really Bad Idea
By Erin McKinney | Image Credit: miami.cbslocal.com
Keyboard warriors and animal activists alike have been jumping on the SeaWorld bandwagon for a while now and attempting to convert ordinary people to support their cause with as little validated, balanced information as possible.
In some cases, this has been successful, especially when said activists conceal their true radical agenda within the guise of “progressive animal welfare.”
However, as we see through the actions of PETA in the case of Maya or the Blackfish crew’s misguided support of sea pens, the agenda drives much deeper then simply “free the orcas.”
You’re actually supporting hate campaigns on a whole lot of other good stuff, without even knowing it.
Here’s what you’re effectively condemning if you’re one of the many misguided souls who thinks “SeaWorld should close:”
1: The largest rescue and rehabilitation program in the world
SeaWorld self-funds the largest marine animal rescue and rehabilitation program on the planet, with 24,000 successful animal rescues ranging from sea turtles to dolphins to pinnipeds to birds and more.
This program operates under the supervision of federal and state governments and abides by all levels of regulation regarding what animals can and cannot be reintroduced into the wild (read: not the orcas).
Attacks on SeaWorld ignore the fundamental fact that the structure of SeaWorld parks is integrated with the rescue and rehabilitation program, and that level of funding and infrastructure is only possible under the greater system of the company.
Basically: close the parks, stop the rescues. Unless you’ve got several hundred thousand dollars lying around to fund them yourself…
2: Millions of dollars in conservation funding annually
SeaWorld operates two not-for-profits. One is the SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, which donates millions to land and sea conservation programs all over the world.
That includes wild orcas.
Keyboard activists are desperate to separate SeaWorld’s not-for-profit and rescue activities from the remainder of the park, in particular the orca program. They speak as if they were two separate entities, saying things like “I like the rescues but they can’t keep having dolphins in tanks.”
There’s a reason SeaWorld is such a significant donor to conservation programs and produces this volume of research. The for-profit “entertainment” segments of the company funds the rest of it. You cannot have one without the other.
Attacking SeaWorld’s marine mammal care programs is, by extension, an attack on their conservation and research programs. Consider this before heading out for your next protest.
3: The entire United States zoological system
Every single zoo, aquarium and marine park in the United States falls under the jurisdiction of the USDA, National Marine Fisheries Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That means EVERY SINGLE one of them follows the same laws. And these laws govern everything, from enclosure size to food preparation areas to how many animals are mandated to be in a single enclosure.
As for NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that regulate marine mammal care, SeaWorld is governed by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association (to name a few).
Not a single one of these organizations have brought a charge against SeaWorld’s animal care. In fact, SeaWorld not only meets, but exceeds the standards set by them.
The only “experts” who claim SeaWorld mistreats their animals come straight from the activist camps. And if you think they won’t come straight for your local zoo if they get their way with SeaWorld, you’re kidding yourself.
These are the same people who think illegal terrorist acts in the name of animal rights are okay.
4: A staff of animal care experts and their collective knowledge
Ladies and gentlemen, no one knows how to take care of marine animals better then SeaWorld.
No one. Not fired ex-trainers, not field scientists without hands-on animal experience, not soccer moms with twitter accounts, and not vegan college students.
There’s a reason every single other accredited facility in the world goes to SeaWorld to learn how to take care of their animals. They’ve done it for the longest time. They’ve done it for the widest range of species. They have the largest zoological collection in the world, and with that comes a huge range of knowledge, skill and techniques, from healthy killer whale blood level databases to parenting behavior in beluga whales to how to perform a C section on a shark.
The behavioral techniques pioneered by SeaWorld are used in zoological facilities around the world to ensure proper animal care. And they CONTINUE to innovate and move forward with their resources, creating new innovations, new ways to educate the public, new methods of care and new stores of knowledge.
The bottom line is that attacks on SeaWorld are attacks on a system of people and facilities that are best at saving marine animals in a world that is growing increasingly more hostile to them. And if that isn’t ignorance and stubbornness, then we don’t know what is.