What’s with all those protests at SeaWorld?

by on March 27, 2014 · 117 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Organizing, San Diego, Sports

SeaWorld orca v moneyBy Barb Dunsmore / Special to the OB Rag

When it comes to impassioned feelings about Sea World, most readers of the OB Rag are well aware that much has recently been written, discussed, filmed, and documented. The world began to take notice with the release of Gabriella Cowperthwaite’s documentary Blackfish. It started with ripples of awareness that have now become waves of deep concern. The worldwide anger the movie unleashed is nearly impossible to ignore.

While SeaWorld was celebrating their 50th anniversary last Friday, everyday citizens, myself included, were standing on Sea World Drive protesting 50 years of inhumane captivity, drawing attention to what we, and a growing number of people around the world see as a new vision for SeaWorld: the recently proposed California Captive Orca Welfare and Safety Act – AB 2140. A new vision that could be a win-win for the orcas and SeaWorld alike, where the orcas would finally be free from the confines and cruel control inflicted upon them daily.

Who are we that protest you ask?

We are a growing group of passionate believers in the equality of humans and non-humans to live in this world without cruelty or enslavement or captivity of any kind. We want our children to revere all animals and not see them as something here for our entertainment, but rather have an undying respect and appreciation for them.

We are professional doctors, lawyers, small business owners, students, teachers, writers, artists, parents, environmentalists from all walks of life. We come from a place of integrity and a united desire to see animals treated just the way we all wish to be treated. What a concept!

We want to encourage the efforts of Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D), Santa Monica, to pass Assembly Bill 2140—California Captive Orca Welfare and Safety Act and hope you will join us in this effort.  (More on that below.)

We don’t want SeaWorld to shut its doors

We do not want Sea World to shut its doors; nor do we believe the passage of AB 2140 would result in the closing of SeaWorld or be a huge revenue loss for the City of San Diego. Rather, quite the opposite. SeaWorld doesn’t need to close to operate more humanely – it just needs to change its business model.

Today’s most popular attractions involve everything from visual, interactive, digitized features that both entertain as well as educate the public. Now with gigantic animatronics and life-size animation facets, we are brought into worlds of everything from distant planets, under-the-sea life, exotic and ever-so-realistic monsters, dinosaurs, sharks, etc. The possibilities are limitless. SeaWorld could very well be as globally exciting as Disneyland, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Universal Studios, and so many other huge entertainment venues that do not involve captive, performing animals.

The reality is that Sea World is not the happy-go-lucky world it appears to be. There is something rotten festering beneath the waters. The orcas–captive, inbred, kidnapped from their pods, mothers and babies torn away from each other in agony, isolated in solitary confinement and suffering from everything from physical diseases to mental trauma—these are the “performers” captured for entertainment solely for the commercial coffers of Sea World.

We can no longer applaud the tragedy we now know exists behind the scenes. There needs to be a new and more compassionate Sea World—a beautiful new perspective that will change not only the lives of what we call the ‘San Diego 10,’ but generations of other marine mammals imprisoned in the name of “family entertainment.”

Meet the ‘San Diego 10’

Meet the ‘San Diego 10’:

  1. Corky II, captive 45 yrs.;
  2. Kasatka, captive 36 yrs.:
  3. Ulises captive 34 yrs. – all three wild caught, kidnapped from their mothers, their pods. Then there is
  4. Makani,
  5. Kalia,
  6. Ikaika,
  7. Nakai,
  8. Shouka,
  9. Keet
  10. and Orkid,– all captive bred held prisoner from 13 months to 21 yrs., respectively. – See here http://deathatseaworld.com/?p=968

SeaWorld, you have made millions, if not billions off the capture, breeding and confinement of these massive, beautiful, intelligent orcas for decades. Don’t you think it’s time you give something back to them? Use your billions to invest in and release the ‘San Diego 10’ to seaside sanctuaries, if not the wild. It’s time for a moral, ethical and compassionate change, Sea World. The world is watching…Empty the Tanks.

The students of Pt. Loma High School have a message for you SeaWorld: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1056730

Here is what you can do right now. Call and/or write to:

1. Your own Assemblymember. (Find here / )

2. The Assemblymembers on the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. (Find here )

AB 2140 must be approved by Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee FIRST in order for it to move forward. Hearing date has not yet been set but we are hopeful it will be sometime in April.

 3. The Assemblymembers on the Appropriations Committee (once the bill has been referred to this committee, we will put the word out, no need to call them yet).

Contact info for this committee may be found here http://apro.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff

If your Assemblymember sits on one of the committees in which the bill will be heard, make sure you say it will be heard in the committee when communicating your support. Supporters should write to their Assemblymember, as well as the Chair and Vice-Chair of the committee in which the bill will be heard next (at present, that would be Assemblymembers Rendon and Bigelow).

Messages should be polite, concise and to-the-point: A simple “I Support AB 2140” sponsored by Assemblymember Bloom, will suffice.

And lastly, please sign this Petition to the State of California joining over 1,131,000 others who support the passage of AB 2140 – http://action.sumofus.org/a/seaworld-orcas-captivity-california-ban-blackfish/8/2/?sub=fb

“The greatest kindness to be achieved here would be to end breeding and prevent any new captures from being brought in, so the whole concept just fades away. That way the bad idea of cetacean captivity that is and always has been can be put behind us.” ~ Kaarina Makowski.

SeaWorld’s 50th Anniversary Protest

Note: Very recently “a bill that would ban keeping orca whales in captivity in New York passed in the state’s Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation, meaning that it is one step closer to being signed into law.” https://www.thedodo.com/ny-blackfish-bill-to-ban-capti-482618752.html

 Barb Dunsmore
March 26, 2014



{ 117 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris March 27, 2014 at 9:44 am

I love how you say its a world wide growing angaisnt SeaWorld which is so far from the truth. I visit Orlando’s SeaWorld at least 2 times a week. The attendance there is through the roof with shows at capacity and overflow parking lots filled. Its never been busier. People are starting to learn about the myhths and false info that was in blackfish and also realize that what may have been true is from decades ago and not how SeaWorld operates today.

I have to laugh when you say you dont want seaworld to close and that they would be fine without the whales there. Your just saying that to make yourself look better. Fact is SeaWorld is shamu and whales and thats what people come for. You take that away and its like taking the big mac away from McDonalds or Mickey away from Disney. Its SeaWorld’s business model.

Disney has animal kingdom with captive animals there. EPCOT has the seas pavillion that has captive dolphins and manatees who never even see the light of day. Universal has animal actors stage show where monkeys, pigs, birds, dogs and cats perform. All these are captive animals performing in parks. Why dont you go after San Diego Zoo? Why dont you go after families that have captive dogs and cats. After all they were pulled away from their mom at very young ages too.

Whether you want to admit it or not SeaWorld had had a major impact of good on the visitors who come to the parks. People are inspired to be bettter people to the environment and to help animals and make a difference. Over 23,000 animals rescued, millions of dolalrs donated, countless volunteer hours. Its more then Disney, Universal and San Diego Zoo have done.


Molly March 27, 2014 at 10:19 am


Ok, let’s see … there is a growing world wide movement against orcas being held in captivity – so there you’re wrong on that one. SeaWorld this year posted losses, so there you’re wrong there. Attendance is down nation-wide. People are starting to learn about the mistreatment of animals and are starting not to go to SeaWorld any longer.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 10:52 am

Ok molly yes there are anti caps that are agaisnt what SeaWorld does but its not a growing sensation. If you actually visit the parks and see for yourself you would see that. Second Seaworld always posts loss in the last quarter because of all the parks that are closed because they are seasonal. Check the history you will see. Overall for the year SeaWorld had record revenue and profit. No year was better. Third attendance at all SeaWorld branded parks were up and Orlando’s attendance was record teritory. The attendance that was down was at the Sesame Place, busch Gardens parks and water country. Proof is in the investor call. There you go. So you are wrong on all counts.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 8:27 pm

From SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc’s hometown newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel: “SeaWorld operates several regional parks that close during the winter, and the company typically operates at a loss during the first and fourth quarters. But its fourth-quarter loss of $13.5 million was 54 percent larger than its loss during the fourth quarter of 2012.

“Total revenue, however, climbed 3 percent for the quarter to $272 million, as SeaWorld raised prices for food, tickets and merchandise and as visitors bought more in its parks.”

“Total attendance dropped 4.1 percent to 24.4 million visitors. But SeaWorld made more money from the visitors it did draw, as per-guest revenue leapt 7 percent to $62.43.

“SeaWorld’s bottom-line profit shrank 35 percent for the year, to $50.5 million, partly because of costs incurred during its IPO.”


Dana March 27, 2014 at 11:52 am

Exactly Molly! This pro-caps don’t know what they’re talking about!


Dana March 27, 2014 at 11:46 am

Chris, you’re comparing WILD animals to DOMESTICATED animals. Dogs come from wolves and chose to hang around humans because the relationship was beneficial to both the wolves>dogs and to the humans. Keeping an ocean dwelling creature in a swimming pool is WRONG and all $lave World cares about is MONEY.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 11:54 am

oh give me a break Dana. The majority of SeaWorld animals are born there they dont know the ocean and they are taken care of well. They have a good life at SeaWorld. Of course SeaWorld needs to make money after all they are a business but they have a lot of animals to feed and provide care for. That doesnt happen for free honey. They are not in swimming pools either


Dana March 27, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Don’t call me honey. Keeping animals that SHOULD have been born in the wild and live in the OCEAN just for stupid people to gawk at and for a company to make billions on is WRONG. Why are most humans so damn selfish and greedy? The quality of life for cetaceans in captivity is no where close to the amazing life they could live in their natural habitat..you know the SEA! Maybe there’s a job opening for whale hand job artist in case you lose your job at Disney….


Chris March 27, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Aw sorry I upset you :(
SeaWorld dont make billions of dollars. The revenue for the year was 1.5 billion. Operating expenses from employee wages to animal care to maintenance is 1.2 billion. Not much of a profit there. You should check your facts before you state they make billions.

Would you want to live in the ocean with polution and trash all around, boats striking you, hunters killing you no one to care for you if you get sick? SeaWorld animals have none of this to worry about. They are on a well balanced diet. Tons of love and affection from trainers. For Orlando alone 7 whales with 30 trainers and that dont even count the animal care staff. Lots of attention, daily vert care and no harm to worry about. Those trainers love those whales.

There really is no arguing with you because no changing your opinion and you are not changing mine. I just want to make sure the facts are out there


Xena March 27, 2014 at 11:54 am

Chris, you are so wrong it is laughable. I can only conclude you are a $ea Pri$on plant or a very un-enlightened person. Do your homework. The rats are deserting a sinking ship …. dumping stock by the millions!! Check this out … http://www.ecorazzi.com/2014/03/25/blackstone-will-sell-498-million-in-seaworld-stocks/

People are speaking up and OUT … we have CA and NY with bills that DO NOT SUPPORT CAPTIVE SENTIENT BEINGS FOR $$$’S AND ‘ENTERTAINMENT’ …. TIME TO GET A CLUE!!!


Chris March 27, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Wow Xena stooping to personal insults huh? No need for that. Once again as I have said before I have a passion and lvoe for SeaWorld. i do not work there nor do I make any money to post what I say. Does the blackfish people and peta people pay you for the laughable things you post?

Blackstone is an investment firm that comes in to make money on a company and then sells it. Nothing wrong with them sselling tock. Rumour is SeaWorld will be bought back by the Busch family which I surely hope it does. Thats the true hands it belongs in

You will see the CA bill will not pass. Its a CA congressman wanting his fame and is jumping on the blackfish bandwaggon. None of you even look at SeaWorld for all the good thats gone on there and the rescues and so on. You dont see the true care that happens to all animals there not just the whales. For people who watch a movie and take it as fact is down right silly. Get out there and see with your own eyes the real SeaWorld and what goes on behind the scenes. Talk to the real trainers, talk to the educators. The truth is there.

And further more the documentary agaisnt McDonalds never took them down. SeaWorld will be just fine


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 4:35 pm

“When the assemblyman, Bloom, announced he was trying to ban orca shows at SeaWorld, the U-T and 10News had SurveyUSA poll San Diegans on the issue. They found that 49 percent thought the shows should remain legal. That’s a plurality.

“But it’s not a majority. The rest of those polled were either unsure whether the killer whale shows should be legal or thought they should simply be prohibited.

“Can you imagine if 51 percent of your community was either convinced your business activity should be prohibited or they were unsure?”


Chris March 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Cant you come up with something original or do you have to keep copy and pasting things from the internet?

Online polls mean nothing. The anti cap world will post to twitter and facebook the second a poll comes out and have their followers flood the poll with the results they want to make SeaWorld look bad. This 49 – 51 percent thing really means nothing. Once again the proof is in the park. Attendance at the 3 SeaWorld parks are through the roof with shows at capacity and parking lots full. There is your true numbers.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Facts are a bitch, aren’t they? This was a commissioned poll by a survey organization.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Looky here Martha:

Far more San Diegans support allowing killer whale performances than those who believe such entertainment should be illegal, according to a new poll.

UT San Diego and 10News conducted a recent poll that found 49 percent say it should be legal to allow orca shows such as those put on by SeaWorld while 34 percent said they should be outlawed.

I wont use foul language like you but what do you think of that?


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Chris, that’s the same exact survey I cited. 34% say should be outlawed and 18% didn’t know. NOT a ringing endorsement of performing orcas. Sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Correction: That’s 17% didn’t know.


Summer March 19, 2016 at 12:20 am

Though I completely agree with Chris there are different reasons to support Sea World.
-Sea World is the BIGGEST rescue and rehabilitation in the ENTIRE world (if you have no idea what rescue and rehab means get off the bandwagon because you do not truly care about marine mammals). They save thousands of animals a year! Many endangered species
would be wiped out if it wasn’t for their highly skilled team.
-Most of Sea World’s orcas were not captured by Sea World
– Sea World donates millions of dollars each year to sea conservation
– Sea World takes excellent top notch care of their animals. They are the BEST of the best. NO ONE could do a better job. Hundreds of wildlife organizations depend on Sea World, and many go to Sea World to learn proper care of animals
-All zoos and animals sanctuaries alike are under strict rules placed there for the animal’s safety and Sea World often exceeds these rules
– Many of these trainers in the Blackfish video were fired or had not claimed to have the experience they said they did. Many of these people have not worked at Sea World for DECADES. In this time Sea World has adapted and adjusted to make life better for their animals and are the number one research team for marine animals. Please note that many of the interviewees in the Blackfish “documentary” had never met Tilikum or been in the water with a killer whale

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE before you make your final decision research BOTH sides of the argument, talk to marine experts, and form a real conclusion instead of basing all your information off of a propaganda film. I swear Sea World is doing a lot of good and if you really cared about these animals you wouldn’t agree. If you’re just a keyboard warrior or angry soccer mom who hasn’t actually researched and understood this subject, please make an effort to do so. NO ONE takes care of these animals better than Sea World NO ONE. If you really don’t trust Sea World’s information there are plenty of oceanic sites you can research on. All animals at Sea World are loved and respected by the employees and anyone who says otherwise is not educated enough. Your hearts are in the right place but you’re not standing on the right side


Summer March 19, 2016 at 12:22 am

I apologize most of my wording and punctuation are incorrect, but I’m very frustrated and upset please excuse it. I think my point has been made


Teresa Wagner March 29, 2014 at 6:29 pm

I think that SeaWorld could make just as much money and actually more fully and accurately educate visitors about orcas if the whales were is sea pens with real sea water, with room to move more naturally, eating live fish and not forced to do tricks to eat. . . with underwater cameras so visitors could see what orcas do naturally in their real natural habitat rather than in the small pools doing tricks. And if the whales who were taken from the wild could be reunited with their families in the ocean, imagine what SeaWorld could teach the world about orcas if these whales had the small camera cams that many researchers use to learn about marine life? The people who are “pro whale” are not “down with SeaWorld,” they are just advocating a different way for SeaWorld to share with others the lives of whales. . . in a way that is not cruel for the whales and can still benefit SeaWorld. That is what AB2140 is all about. Do one has to lose here. . everyone can win.


Pro Cap March 27, 2014 at 9:48 am

And Kasatka was the only whale (who is still alive) who was actually captured by SeaWorld many, many years ago.

I was there on March 21 (happy SeaWorld month!) enjoying the sight of beautiful animals. I hope you guys had fun outside listening to cars drive by.

Don’t worry, I’m planning on doing my part for AB 2140.


Pro Cap March 27, 2014 at 11:14 am

We need people to help show that SeaWorld really isn’t bad and that AB 2140 is just another ridiculous law! Please use the links above to write/contact lawmakers and tell them what you think. I started my letter yesterday…and boy, do I have a lot of ground to cover!


Susie March 29, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Pro cap: So sorry for you.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Why don’t you go to Sacramento. & learn about the bill?
Write your letter, The bill will pass. It’s too bad we have to have Laws for some people to do the right, true & correct thing in life. But we do.
When we know better, Some of us Do better .

If you are not going to be part of the solution, don’t be part of the problem. Ok ?
Thank you


Pro Cap March 31, 2014 at 10:26 am

Please explain, Susie…?


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Of the San Diego 10, Corky2 was captured in 1970 in Canada; Kasatka was captured in 1979 in Iceland; and Ulises was captured in 1980 in Iceland. How long do these animals have to perform for SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.? When do they get to retire, as many other performing animals do, in the entertainment industry as well as working dogs such as in law enforcement and the military?


Pro Cap March 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Corky was captured for Marineland and Ulises was captured for the Barcelona Zoo [Corky is about 50 (average age) and Ulises is past the average age of 30 at 36].
Performing provides enrichment for the animals.


Martha Sullivan March 28, 2014 at 7:19 pm

These animals are SURVIVORS, they are the exception. More orcas have died in captivity than have survived.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Performing is part of their daily enrichment. It keeps their brains thinking and keeps them busy. They dont perform in as many shows and wont be over worked but simply retiring them pure and simple to never perform again is not the answer now for them.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Says WHO, the mega-corporation which profits off their performing?


Chris March 27, 2014 at 4:53 pm

So who says they need to retire? You? If they are able to perform they should be able to do it. If they dont want to they wont do it. The trainers will see when the animals dont want to perform anymore.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 5:05 pm

WOW. So they should just perform til they drop, hm? You understand that they are trained to please their trainers, right?


Chris March 27, 2014 at 6:58 pm

How many shows have you been to Martha? The orcas do not always want to perform and when their trainers ask them again they still dont perform or do what was asked. Have you really never seen that? They are not trained to please their trainers.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 8:05 pm

THIS, from the same guy who believes apex predators need to be protected from the natural world by a Nanny Corporation. Huh Huh.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Don’t tell me … You’re a free marketer, right?


Chris March 27, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Oh martha come on. Where have I said they need to be protected from the natural world? Please find that and quote me. Where? Where?

What I was saying is the animals at SeaWorld do not have all the problems of the natural world to worry about. You all say they have it so bad at Seaworld and I am just pointing out that the animals in the wild surely dont have it great either and in my personal opinion have it better at SeaWorld. But guess what neither of us know how to speak whale and know what they are truly feeling so its just our OPINION!!!!


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Chris, you honestly believe these highly intelligent, socially sophisticated marine mammals whose natural range is swimming hundreds of miles a day in the open ocean, are better off in sterile, cement tanks 1/100th that size? NOT living with their natal family, as in nature? Dealing with chlorinated water which damages their eyes and skin, even with ocean pollution?

Chris March 27, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Yes I will Martha. I will say it again are better off at SeaWorld. First of all in regards to your commentabout swimming 100 miles a day. Distance is not integral to a whale’s health and well-being. It is a foraging behavior. Given the challenge of finding and killing as much as 300 pounds of prey every day, killer whales in the wild like any species conserve energy and move only as much as necessary.

I am not saying anymore whales should be taken from the ocean which they shouldn’t and SeaWorld doesn’t do but I see no wrong with the orcas that are there now and nothing wrong with a breeding program. How would you like to be the last human around and waiting for you to die and have no one with you because someone thought it was better to end breeding.

Barb Dunsmore March 27, 2014 at 8:49 pm

And when they REALLY don’t want to perform they kill, as in Tilikum’s case.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Oh barb really? You need to go there. You guys are all crazy here. Accidents happen. It was a tragic acident Leave poor Tili alone


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm

That’s exactly what SeaWorld IS doing, leaving poor Tilly alone. He’s killed 3 people. And he’s not the only captive orca that has killed — Keto on loan to Loro Parque in The Canary Islands killed a trainer there. And there have been many documented cases of captive orcas being very aggressive with trainers — including Kasatka and Shouka, females in San Diego. Same problem with captive elephants. These huge mammals aren’t meant to be kept in captivity and in close quarters with humans.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Tili is not left alone. Tili and Trua are together 98% of the time. They can be seen from Shamu Up Close playing and interacting with each other. Tili is still in performances and shows. He is just not left to sit there to do nothing. Trainers are interacting with him and he is doing good.

How many daily interactions happen and not a single injury or accident occurs? All jobs have risks and working with animals will always have a risks.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 10:55 pm

1) the only orcas designated Endangered are the Southern Resident Killer Whales of the Pacific Northwest, which were decimated by capture for marine parks in the 60s, 70s and 80s, along with the collateral killing and disruption of their families. There is NO need for captive breeding to preserve the Orca species.

Tillikum us kept isolated much of the time, as documented by independent research, NOT SeaWorld’s closed video loop.
“Google Earth´s above shot shows Tilikum confined in what is known as G Pool. He is facing the metal gate that separates him from the orcas in the main show tank, as if begging to join them. Kirby posted the image on Facebook along with the words, ‘Thank you, Google Earth, for documenting the loneliness of this orca.'” http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/the-lonely-life-of-tilikum-six-tons-of-killer-whale-power-incarcerated-subdued/.

Chris March 28, 2014 at 6:03 am

Oh goodness. So we must treat what David Kirby finds as if he is god. He can not be wrong. Just because he found it on google earth must mean thats what Tili’s life is every single day right?

It is a fact and observed by anyone who visit is Tili and Trua are together more then they are apart. This is seen with live human eyes not no camera in space or SeaWorlds CC cameras.

You bring Tili out with the others and it just want work he will be abused from Katina and other just like he was in Canada.

bodysurferbob March 27, 2014 at 10:16 am

chris – your check from seaworld is in the mail, bro.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 10:54 am

Wish I worked there dude but I dont. Life long fan and platnum passholder. Love how SeaWorld fans who stick up for the company have to work for the park. I actually work for Disney. So dont make assumptions.


obecean March 27, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Goofy=— Can’t believe we have you here with us at the ol’ OBRag!!


Pro Cap March 27, 2014 at 11:10 am

Did your check from PETA and Gabriela Cowperthwaite just arrive, bodysurferbob?

It’s ridiculous how people can’t express their opinions without others assuming that they’re paid to do it…


Marc S March 27, 2014 at 1:56 pm

As ridiculous as thinking you have to be a PETA-clone to be against keeping orcas in tiny tanks with fireworks exploding, screaming thrill rides, and huge crowds watching?


Nicky March 27, 2014 at 10:19 am

Fantastic read, I know exactly what to do next!!!


Pro Cap March 27, 2014 at 11:51 am

Anyone who supports conservation, please sign this petition!


Just because you don’t like SeaWorld doesn’t mean you shouldn’t like conservation…


Josephine March 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

I really hope that Sea World has a better vision for the next 50 years. Keeping orcas in captivity is cruel and abusive and sickening. Blackfish has exposed this to the world. If Sea World wants to continue to prosper, they should consider a new business model. There are ways to capitalize without kidnapping and imprisoning orcas.

People are aware after Blackfish and are going to reconsider going to Sea World. People are not going to want to be complicit and encourage the detainment of orcas and will not want to visit Sea World. If Sea World is smart, they will not fight this. They will think of other ways to entertain visitors. People will not want to participate in orca abuse. It’s heartbreaking.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 12:47 pm

There is nothing wrong with their current business model. Just the handful of animal rights activist out there think so. the lies and myths of blackfish have come out with several trainers in it now speaking out against it. SeaWorld does not kidnap whales from the wild. They have not took a wild whale from the ocean since the 70s. Things in “blackfish” may have been true way back when but its not true to this day.

Once again like i have said before the attendance in the SeaWorld parks are thriving. Shows at capacity and parking lots in the overflow section. People are coming and they will continue to come and if SeaWorld is smart they will keep fighting this.



Fandom March 27, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Yay, Chris! I stand with SeaWorld too! Why? It’s called “research”, folks.


Josephine March 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm

I beg to disagree. There are more than a handful of animal rights activists that are against the captivity of orca. That might have been the case BEFORE Blackfish, but that movie has brought this issue to the public and many, many people are against this. SeaWorld purchases the kidnapped whales. The subtle difference doesn’t even mater, Chris. Do you have a link that says their sales are up? I’d love to see that.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Here you go:

Record revenue of $1,460.3 million in 2013, an increase of $36.5 million, or 3%, compared to 2012.

“Driven by record fourth quarter total attendance at our SeaWorld-branded parks in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio, I am pleased to report our third consecutive year of record revenue and Adjusted EBITDA,” Jim Atchison, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. said.

Here is the link


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Still, it was a soft quarter for the company overall. Smaller crowds at the company’s other parks helped pull chainwide attendance down 1.4 percent from a year earlier, to 4.5 million visitors.

From SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc’s hometown newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel: “SeaWorld operates several regional parks that close during the winter, and the company typically operates at a loss during the first and fourth quarters. But its fourth-quarter loss of $13.5 million was 54 percent larger than its loss during the fourth quarter of 2012.

“Total revenue, however, climbed 3 percent for the quarter to $272 million, as SeaWorld raised prices for food, tickets and merchandise and as visitors bought more in its parks.”

“Total attendance dropped 4.1 percent to 24.4 million visitors. But SeaWorld made more money from the visitors it did draw, as per-guest revenue leapt 7 percent to $62.43.

“SeaWorld’s bottom-line profit shrank 35 percent for the year, to $50.5 million, partly because of costs incurred during its IPO.”


Chris March 27, 2014 at 4:57 pm

How do you call it a soft quarter when for the year you have record revenue again for the third straight year? And you posted it right there that smaller crowds at the OTHER parks had attendance down 1.4%

And with the IPO coming out that did costs them a lot of money. Its not cheap to do that.

THere was nothing wrong in the numbers reported. It was a good report


Josephine March 27, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Did SW have to increase prices to make up for the lack of the attendance so their profits remain higher?


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 5:07 pm

SWE Inc. had to gouge its customers to increase its revenue, despite declines in attendance. “Total revenue, however, climbed 3 percent for the quarter to $272 million, as SeaWorld raised prices for food, tickets and merchandise and as visitors bought more in its parks.”

“Total attendance dropped 4.1 percent to 24.4 million visitors. But SeaWorld made more money from the visitors it did draw, as per-guest revenue leapt 7 percent to $62.43.”


Chris March 27, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Martha get your facts straight before posting.

1) SeaWorld offered huge discounts with $50 weekday tickets
2) SeaWorld has the lowest priced annual passes where you pay for a 1 day ticket and get the rest of the year free. Far from gouging its guests.

As for increases in prices on food and merchandise. Of course it happens every single year. Its called inflation. Things costs more.

Disney, Universal, and every theme park increases its prices on everything year after year.

And further more The decline was primarily attributable to the expected result of planned pricing and yield management strategies that increased revenue but reduced low yielding and free attendance. Also contributing to the decline in full year attendance was unexpected adverse weather conditions in the Company’s second quarter and July as well as the impact of an early Easter in 2013.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 8:23 pm

My facts are totally straight, I quoted them from SWE Inc’s hometown newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel. You are repeating spin.

Chris March 27, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Um I am not reporting any “spin” FACT SeaWorld has $50 Weekday tickets: See the tickets here http://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando/book-online/tickets/mostpopulartourist/?from=Front_Page_Main_Promo

FACT SeaWorld has annual passes that are the same price as a one day ticket: http://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando/book-online/tickets/annualpassesresident/?from=Top_Callout

So the Orlando Sentinel really had an article that said SeaWorld gouged its guests? I find that hard to believe. The Orlando Sentinel is defiantly not a fan of SeaWorld because they do report biased one side stories that you would love but I doubt they wrote a statement saying SeaWorld gouged their guests when Disney gouges so much more.

Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Chris, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. execs openly talk about raising prices: ” So said executives to investors during a March 13 financial call, pointing out that the theme park increased prices aggressively in 2013, so it will look at other ways to boost revenue, such as growing attendance and guests’ in-park spending on food and merchandise.” THIS is reported in the Orlando Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/blog/2014/03/good-news-seaworld-has-no-plans-to-bump-up.html.

Cara March 27, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Chris, years ago, I too felt like you do now about Sea World. I was one of the advertising copywriters who created award-winning campaigns for them (TV, radio, and print.) It was one of the most joyful writing experiences I had and I felt proud to tout my efforts on my resume.
And then I saw Blackfish and began to read and learn from others–highly respected scientists, environmentalists, marine biologists and many ex-Sea World trainers and vets. What I learned shocked me deeply and I wrote about it (it’s on my website blog).
I know how hard it is to relinquish our hold on a long-held belief system when what we “know” to be true is being challenged. It’s like finding out a beloved friend or relative is actually a con and a crook.
But this is what I ask of you now. Before you stand in a defense mode and name-call in the name of family entertainment and the huge profits Sea World is making (not true any more!), I ask you to back off and listen to the reasoning behind so many worldwide who are asking NOT to shut Sea World down, but rather to open it up and create a more compassionate, and ultimately far more entertaining world for these captive animals. These are not just performing puppets, Chris. They are highly intelligent, sensitive, cognitively superior beings who are being enslaved and deserve the same respect and dignity for life as we humans do. And yes, many have been ripped from their pods and many are inbred and many more are mentally and physically suffering in immeasurable ways. This is proven fact. Learn about it!
If you are open to truly understanding the arguments against Sea World I would love to invite you to contact or be contacted by some of the most brilliant leaders in the world who are wanting this new and powerful paradigm shift for Sea World. This is not a whim. This is a life-changer, Chris. Will you be open to hearing them?


Eric Mills March 27, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Anyone who thinks that keeping orcas in captivity is acceptable should GOOGLE “orcas – dental problems”

Meanwhile, letters in support of Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s long-overdue AB 2140 are needed NOW. The bill is likely to be assigned to the ASSEMBLY WATER, PARKS & WILDLIFE COMMITTEE for an April hearing. The chair is Anthony Rendon; committee consultant is Diane Colborn (email – diane.colborn@asm.ca.gov)

Today California, tomorrow Florida and Texas. NO cetaceans belong in captivity. Here’s hoping we won’t let jobs, tourist revenues and greed trump the REAL issues: ANIMAL WELFARE, ETHICS AND MORALITY. Will we?

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has NO dolphin/whale shows, yet continue to draw thousands of visitors daily. SeaWorld can and will do just fine without these circus-type acts, demeaning to all concerned.



Chris March 27, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Me and all my pro SeaWorld people will also be senidng our letters to. Thank you for the email address. I didnt have that one. :)

Once again which no one will answer why is this all agaisnt SeaWorld? Why is the San Diego Zoo ok? Why is Animal Kingdom at Disney ok why is EPCOT ok with the dolphins and manatees who never even get to see light of day. Their are zoos and aquariums all over this country. And still even with all of them combined they didnt resuce, rehab and release combined all the animals SeaWorld did last year alone. And yet you all want to see the funds that keep SeaWorld going and able to perform these rescues stopped.

And SeaWorld is very different from a simple aquarium in Monterey Bay. SeaWorld will not make it if you take their star away.

Like one of the people interviewed on CNN said anti caps will never admit it but the animals at SeaWorld are an amabasador for the animals in the ocean. People learn about them at Seaworld and gain a connection and want to help save the oceans then. Get rid of the orcas at SeaWorld and like he said out of sight out of mind. Its sad but very true.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 11:21 pm

1) If having Orcas as ambassadors for protecting the oceans is so important, why are the oceans worse off now than when orca captivity started ? Not very effective, is it?

2). Monterey Bay Aquarium a “simple aquarium”? Have you BEEN there? MUCH more sophisticated and science-based than SeaWorld’s commercial carny show. For example: “Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes” is the most dynamic special exhibition ever created by the aquarium that pioneered award-winning exhibits of jellies and deep-sea animals. It opens April 12, 2014 and continues through Labor Day 2016.

Over the life of the exhibit, visitors might see any of the two dozen species that will rotate through a dozen displays, from giant Pacific octopus to Hawaiian bobtail squid, the wonderpus octopus and more. From time to time there may be displays of never-before-exhibited deep sea squid and octopuses, in collaboration with the aquarium’s sister organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Tentacles includes multimedia interactives that dramatize the features that set these animals apart, and artworks highlighting 4,000 years of human fascination: replicas of Minoan pottery and Roman tiles; Victorian-era scientific illustrations; modern tentacle tattoos; and kinetic sculptures commissioned for the exhibition.

But the focus is the living animals. Visitors entering the galleries will encounter a school of nearly foot-long bigfin reef squid. Turning a corner, they’ll enter a grotto housing two giant Pacific octopuses. Elsewhere, they’ll find seldom-seen species like flamboyant cuttlefish, chambered nautilus, wonderpus and two-spot octopus.

Living exhibits might feature one of the world’s largest cuttlefishes (the broadclub cuttlefish, more than a foot long) and the tiny northern pygmy squid, an inch or less in length. An egg lab showcases the aquarium’s groundbreaking work in rearing these incredible animals – including custom-built soda-bottle “bubblers” as incubators. The galleries also include an exhibit to house deep sea squid and octopus species if collection efforts prove successful.

“These are all short-lived animals. Many are species that have never been exhibited for very long by any of our colleagues, or raised through their entire lifecycle,” said special exhibits coordinator Jennifer Dreyer. “This is definitely a first for any aquarium.”

Cephalopods – octopuses and their kin – are found from the poles to the tropics, in tide pools and the deep sea. They can be colorful or transparent, and range in size from less than an inch to more than 50 feet long.

Exhibits in Tentacles include video clips that reveal these animals’ amazing color- and shape-changing abilities and other rarely seen behaviors.

One digital interactive exhibit lets people transform themselves in ways that mimic the color-shifting skills that help squid, octopuses and cuttlefishes ambush their prey, hide from predators, or communicate with potential mates. Visitors can share “cephalopod selfies” by email or through social media channels.

Three kinetic sculptures commissioned for Tentacles from contemporary Bay Area artist Nemo Gould tell important conservation stories about the impacts of pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction on these remarkable creatures.

“These animals capture our imagination,” said lead exhibit developer Jaci Tomulonis. “This is a great opportunity for people to meet incredible animals and explore ways to protect them for their future.” http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2014/3/25/breakthrough_tentacles_exhibit_explores_remarkable_world.htm.


Kaitlyn March 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm

I am doing an article for a journalism class on all the controversy surrounding SeaWorld and the killer whale shows and would love to ask you some more questions about this bill and get your thoughts. Please let me know if this is possible. Thanks so much.


Cara March 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Chris, years ago, I too felt like you do now about Sea World. I was one of the advertising copywriters who created award-winning campaigns for them (TV, radio, and print.) It was one of the most joyful writing experiences I had and I felt proud to tout my efforts on my resume.
And then I saw Blackfish and began to read and learn from others–highly respected scientists, environmentalists, marine biologists and many ex-Sea World trainers and vets. What I learned shocked me deeply and I wrote about it (it’s on my website blog).
I know how hard it is to relinquish our hold on a long-held belief system when what we “know” to be true is being challenged. It’s like finding out a beloved friend or relative is actually a con and a crook.
But this is what I ask of you now. Before you stand in a defense mode and name-call in the name of family entertainment and the huge profits Sea World is making (not true any more!), I ask you to back off and listen to the reasoning behind so many worldwide who are asking NOT to shut Sea World down, but rather to open it up and create a more compassionate, and ultimately far more harmonious world for these captive animals. These are not just performing puppets, Chris. They are highly intelligent, sensitive, cognitively superior beings who are being enslaved and deserve the same respect and dignity for life as we humans do. And yes, many have been ripped from their pods and many are inbred and many more are mentally and physically suffering in immeasurable ways. This is proven fact. Learn about it!
If you are open to truly understanding the arguments against Sea World I would love to invite you to contact or be contacted by some of the most brilliant leaders in the world who are wanting this new and powerful paradigm shift for Sea World. This is not a whim. This is a life-changer, Chris. Will you be open to hearing them?


Chris March 27, 2014 at 2:35 pm


First of all I am not name calling anyone. I may have said honey to someone but that was not to be rude. I am the one accused of working at SeaWorld or accused of being a paid spokesperson. I also have xena calling me laughable and un-enlightened. Seems much worse than the one thing I said.

What I know is cold hard facts that I witness with my own two eyes every single weekend at SeaWorld. I know the trainers, I know the people who work, I know the educators and animal care team. I know the countless hours spent preparing diets every day and the veterinary care performed. Its not something done just for a show its done because they have a passion for wild life and love their animals.

SeaWorld made record revenue this year more money than they ever have just over 1.5 Billion. More money than ever was brought in, SeaWorld has never been a huge profit maker though. They have large bottom lines with all the food and animal care in addition to maintenance and employee costs. Why should I back off and listen to what all of you have to say and not post the facts that I have? I have every right to defend SeaWorld as you do to put them down.

And yes all of you want SeaWorld shut down its pretty darn clear. You darn right know that if the whales are not there that will close them down. When you go to SeaWorld what’s the largest and busiest stadium??? Shamu Stadium. Because people want to see him. It’s the biggest draw to the park and always will. And why are you focused on the whales anyway? Do you not have love for dolphins, sea lions, otters, manatees, polar bears, belugas and so on? If we take out shamu why don’t we take out all of them? Why just stop there?

And I know they are not performing puppets. I know how intelligent they are. I see it every time I am there. These are natural behaviors they perform in the wild. No trainer ever tells the whales what they have to do they ask them to do it. If they don’t want to do it they don’t. I have been to shows where its cancelled because the whales don’t want to do the show. And guess what if they don’t do the behavior they were asked they are not starved like blackfish wants you to think. They still receive all their food. If the diet calls for 200 pounds of fish they will get their 200 pounds of fish whether they did the behavior or not.

The majority of whales at SeaWorld have not been ripped from their pods like you say. The majority at SeaWorld were born there with a handful from the wild (from the 70s) I don’t see any suffering going on at SeaWorld Orlando. Since Shamu Up Close has been open in Orlando which was January my friends and I spend the entire weekend watching them and I don’t see any signs of stress or boredom or anything else that SeaWorld is accused of. John Hargrove likes to say that the whales are so bored they chew on the gates. Ummm no not in the countless hours I have been there. Its fun to watch them play with their toys and bond with each other.

Are your so called experts that you want to contact me maybe David Kirby or Naomi rose? Do you really think I don’t know all the arguments that anti cap people have

I encourage you to read this 35 page document dissecting blackfish and its lies. Not wrote by a anyone affiliated with SeaWorld


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 4:01 pm

“Nakai, an 11-year-old male orca at SeaWorld is missing a ‘dinner-plate sized chunk’ of skin and flesh just under his mouth. The ghastly gash, first reported by journalist Tim Zimmermann, happened during a nighttime show at the Southern California park on September 20.

“It is not clear what caused the horrendous wound. SeaWorld spokesman Dave Koontz told reporters that Nakai ‘came in contact with a portion of the pool,’ but gave no other details.

“Was it “contact with a portion of the pool,” as SeaWorld contends? Or was it the pointed, precise teeth of Ike or Keet? We may never know.”


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm

“As if having his dorsal fin completely collapse weren’t enough, something—or someone—has been eating away at the back of the massive appendage of Keet, an exceedingly itinerant 20-year-old male orca, currently parked at SeaWorld San Diego.

“In a video recently posted on YouTube, visitors captured a treatment session in the medical pool. Other witnesses reported similar medical procedures on Keet over the past few months. In the video, Keet obediently moves into position before the pool bottom, partly covered in green algae, rises up to beach him. Next, a female veterinarian gingerly applies what looks like laser surgery, apparently to cauterize the ragged flesh of his fin. At times you can see bits of his folded dorsal light up in orange as the laser burns away rotted tissue. The curator, heard on tape, is clueless as to what is going on.

“I don’t how much pain, if any, the 7,000-pound killer whale is experiencing—he doesn’t seem to flinch. But it’s still a bit hard to watch. And one immediately walks away with the one obvious, but unanswered question: What on earth happened to this poor animal?

“SeaWorld did not respond to a request by TakePart for comment, so it is impossible to know why his dorsal fin is in such dreadful shape.

“’I’ve never seen anything like it, but maybe others have,’ Howard Garrett, an experienced whale observer from The Orca Network, told TakePart. Dr. Ingrid Visser, of New Zealand’s Orca Research Trust, said that she has seen wild orcas ‘with ragged edges to their dorsal fins which are very similar to this.’ It’s not clear if boats, sharks or other orcas did the damage.

“So what happened to Keet? It was either caused by disease—or another whale.

“If another orca attacked Keet, or tore away bits of fin in a bout of extreme roughhousing, he wouldn’t be the first captive killer whale wounded by a tank-mate. In the most infamous contretemps, also at San Diego, in 1989, Kandu and Corky had a severe altercation during a show in which Kandu severed an artery in her jaw. She slowly hemorrhaged to death in a back pool, spurting red jets of blood from her blowhole as helpless staff and her calf Orkid looked on.

“Keet’s dorsal looks like it could have been macerated. ‘Not knowing all the whales in this community, who knows who is doing what to whom, but it sure does look like someone has been chewing on it,’ Dr. Naomi Rose, senior scientist at Humane Society International, tells TakePart.

“Visser concurs. ‘Without a closer look it’s hard to tell,’ she says. ‘Some of it certainly looks like orca bites.’”


Chris March 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Not sure what you are wanting me to say to this or what the point of it is but Nakai’s injury was 90% heeled about 3 months later in December. The U.S. Department of Agriculture conclusion was that Nakai’s injury was caused by the whale scraping the track that holds the watertight gates between the two pools at Shamu Stadium. SeaWorld has since fixed tank design issues to address the cause of Nakai’s injury.

Do no whales get hurt in the wild?


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Have you SEEN the CHUNK of flesh that was taken out of Nakai’s chin? IF indeed this horrific wound WAS caused by “scraping the track that holds the watertight gates between the two pools at Shamu Stadium,” what does this say for the boredom of Nakai? You don’t do that deep and wide a removal of flesh from simply “scraping.” Where’s the USDA report?


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Also, as a 20-yr CA utility regulator as well as intervenor at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and CA Public Utilities Commission, I know from firsthand experience that regulatory agencies usually are captive to the industries they regulate and tend to support the regulated entity’s version of what happened. They don’t have the expertise, time, nor political will to challenge the well-funded industry it regulates. This is well-established throughout regulatory agencies.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Yes I seen it. I dont know where to get the report but it was in a CA news paper here http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/Jan/29/injured-orca-nakai-killer-whale-healing/

Glad you know that you just cant do that deep and wide removal of flesh simply from scraping.


Frank March 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Sea pens, yes these are the answer they will be so happy.. Not! Anyone who agrees with that should be given a few lessons on outdoor survival dropped in woods with only that new found knowledge. Said woods can be fenced in without threat of man eating predators for an equal comparison. Because after all your ancestors lived in caves and survived the wilderness, so you should be fine, right? Sea pens would be to torture! These are sentient intelligent creatures, most captive bred with no understanding of the wild nor the immune system to handle it. They will be so confused and will feel punished having been stripped of the companionship of their loving caring trainers. It makes me sick you activists think you know what’s best for these animals without REALLY thinking about these facts. Could seaworld make captivity bigger better, maybe create a massive retirement tank, of course. But the simple fact is, sea pens would be unethical and condemning them to a painful death from the elements! It’s common sense that applies to EVERY CAPTIVE BORN ANIMAL!


Martha Sullivan March 28, 2014 at 8:10 am

There are very well-thought out transition plans to retire the performing orcas, crafted by orca biologists and former trainers. It’s NOT just sticking them in sea pens. “Painful death from the elements”? They live in totally unnatural setting now, with chlorine in the water which damages their eyes and skin. The stress alone takes a toll, with more orcas having died in captivity than are presently alive.

“There is a win/win solution to both the trainer safety and orca welfare dilemmas facing marine theme parks around the world, including SeaWorld in the United States. These facilities can work with experts around the world to create sanctuaries where captive orcas can be rehabilitated and retired. These sanctuaries would be sea pens or netted-off bays or coves, in temperate to cold water natural habitat. They would offer the animals respite from performing and the constant exposure to a parade of strangers (an entirely unnatural situation for a species whose social groupings are based on family ties and stability — “strangers” essentially do not exist in orca society). Incompatible animals would not be forced to cohabit the same enclosures and family groups would be preserved.

Show business trainers would no longer be necessary. Expert caretakers would continue to train retired whales for veterinary procedures, but would not get in the water and would remain at a safe distance (this is known in zoo parlance as “protected contact”). And the degree to which they interact directly with the whales would be each whale’s choice.

Many wildlife sanctuaries, for circus, roadside zoo and backyard refugees, exist around the globe for animals such as big cats, elephants and chimpanzees. The business (usually nonprofit) model for these types of facilities is therefore well-established for terrestrial species and can be adapted.
Merlin Entertainments is pursuing the establishment of the world’s first bottlenose dolphin sanctuary with Whale and Dolphin Conservation), a nonprofit environmental group. Whale and Dolphin Conservation put together a team to determine the feasibility of such a concept and the company has now identified potential sites and is studying the infrastructure that will be needed to support a group of retired dolphins.” http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/24/opinion/blackfish-captive-orcas-solutions/index.html.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm

History marches on! Reported in today’s UT-San Diego: DEL MAR — The company that’s handled the San Diego County Fair’s elephant rides for decades announced Thursday morning that it won’t participate in this summer’s fair.

Have Trunk Will Travel of Riverside County — which hires its elephants out for rides, TV commercials and films — has been criticized by animal rights groups who have accused the company of treating its animals poorly. Those groups have been urging the fair to yank the rides for years.

In 2011, the fair board — citing the company’s strong reputation and conservation program — decided to allow Have Trunk Will Travel to continue through the 2014 fair and then revisit the issue again.

Company owners Kari and Gary Johnson said Thursday that it was a “very difficult decision” not to attend this year’s fair, which will run from June 7 through July 6.

The Johnsons said it was primarily a business decision and not based on criticism about how they treat animals.

“It is always a big logistical challenge to balance the needs of our elephants, their human caretakers and all the other breeding, research and business factors involved,” the Johnsons said in a news release. “We’ll miss our fans, but more importantly we’ll miss the opportunity to share America’s elephant ambassadors with people to inform them about the critical plight of endangered Asian elephants.”


Chris March 27, 2014 at 8:45 pm

???? Ok far cry from SeaWorld


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Big picture, Chris. Social change happens in steps. The world is waking up to the need for humans to treat their fellow beings more humanely and ethically, as witnessed by the growth in cruelty-free cosmetics, toiletries and household goods, as well as the transition away from the use of live animals in drug testing and biomedical research as advances in technology enable. The centuries-old tradition of bullfighting was banned over 2 years ago in Catalonia (Barcelona), and has recently been extended to any representation of animal abuse in advertising and media. There hasn’t been a captive cetacean show in the UK since 1993. Businesses either evolve with changes in social mores, or they die.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 9:28 pm

The world is waking up to cruelty free cosmetics, toiletries and household goods because of the animals people have seen and learned about and connected with at zoos and marine parks. Seeing the animals up close gives the guest an interaction like no other. Its also a great thing that bull fighting was banned because hello that has absolutely no benefit or educational value to it. SeaWorld is not like bullfighting in any sense.

And as you say the world is so called waking up and basically against SeaWorld now. SeaWorld announced in their last investors call that they are in the works to open their first SeaWorld overseas. Rumors are for South Korea or Dubai

I seriously don’t know why I keep replying to these posts. I am not changing your mind and you are not changing my mind. This really is getting no where.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Making wild animal species perform tricks is NOT cultivating an appreciation for WILD ANIMALS and their NATURAL habitat. It desensitizes people to what wild animals and their natural habitat truly are. This is why the zoos and aquariums actually engaged in wild animal conservation have been transitioning to more natural habitats and away from performing animals. The Birch Aquarium here locally and the Monterey Bay Aquarium do tremendous work without performing animals. SeaWorld Entertainment clearly wants to be an amusement park leader — it should embrace that, and make use of the fantastic digital entertainment technology to provide its customers with a truly thrilling experience of the oceans, rather than the perversion of nature its orca circus acts of the 20th Century represent.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 10:00 pm

WHY DONT YOU LISTEN TO WHAT I SAY!! SeaWorld does NOT MAKE their animals perform “tricks”. They ask them to perform their natural behaviors by using hand signals. If the animal does not perform the behavior they ask they will ask them one more time if they don’t do it they stop asking. They do not force them to do anything they don’t want to. And when they dont do it they will still get fed and not be starved. The shows are not circus acts. You leave the shows amazed at what you just saw. And the bond they have between trainer and animal.

Dogs are wild animals and you dont see a fight to take them out of peoples homes and put them out in the wild. The animals that are growing up at SeaWorld belong there now and should stay there. Yes no more from the ocean but dont take the current ones away from what they know.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Dogs have been domesticated for 30,000 years, Chris. NO comparison with wild orcas that have been bred in captivity just in the last 35 years. And keeping a dog in a crate 24/7 is considered animal abuse.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Well then at one point the dogs were only captive for 35 years. It all has to start at some point. SeaWorld adheres to all laws and if a fully accredited marine park. They are doing everything the way they are supposed to.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 10:27 pm

As has been documented extensively by scientists, dogs CHOSE to be domesticated for greater security. It was an evolutionary process for them. Orcas have definitively NOT chosen to be domesticated.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 9:56 pm

You realize that when harmful products are banned or declining in popularity in the U.S., that corporations ship them overseas, right? Like cigarettes, tainted baby formula and dirty fossil fuels.


Monica Gilbert March 29, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Martha, Mark Twain’s advice is even truer today: “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience”.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 8:49 pm

I’d love to correlate free market beliefs with the rationalization that the Nanny Corporation needs to protect apex predators like orcas from the risks of life in the open ocean.


Barb Dunsmore March 27, 2014 at 9:07 pm

SeaWorld could learn a thing or two from Movie Director Aronofsky. Imagine that! He made an entire film about animals, with NO animals.

Moviemaker Darren Aronofsky refused to use real animals while making new film Noah after working with primates on 2006’s The Fountain.,,

Aronofsky insists it no longer makes financial sense to use real animals in a blockbuster: “You’re gonna spend a lot more time on set dealing with a live animal. There’s really no reason to do it anymore because the technology has arrived… You can pretty much bring anything to life.”



Chris March 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Seriously!! You are wanting to have SeaWorld a marine based theme park have no animals? A theme park that has had animals for 50 years. SeaWorld is very different from a movie. Really SeaWorld does not have anything to learn from this guy


Eric Mills March 27, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Except morality and ethics, perhaps.


Barb Dunsmore March 27, 2014 at 9:33 pm
Chris March 27, 2014 at 9:52 pm

What does this prove? You give a link to anti SeaWorld anti cap website and want me to believe 100% everything on that site? Why dont you got to http://seaworld.com/en/truth and read SeaWorld’s truth

Why am I spending all this time on anti cap page trying to talk sense to you all when none of you have an open mind and even willing to listen or read what I have to say.

Why dont you all go out and single handily shut down the entire industry of zoos, marine parks and aquariums, animal shelters and so on.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Because captive orcas deserve MUCH better than lives in sterile, cement tanks without the family bonds so crucial to them. Because this isn’t ALL we do to make life better for wild and domesticated animals. Because this is the Orcas’ time.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 10:11 pm

They have family bonds right now. Makaio loves his mom Katina 3.5 years old now and almost always with her. When they give him a new toy he loves to run and show her. Nalani and Malia love hanging out and being the two young girls. They love melon bumping and playing with Makaio. Tili and Trua pretty much always together. See they have their social circle and family bonds

You keep doing what you do I guess and me and all my SeaWorld fans will keep doing what we do and make sure SeaWorld and all the orcas have a great next 50 years :)


Zach Affolter March 27, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Not family bonds compared to those in the wild. These ones are controlled and mothers are separated from their calves (http://www.orcanetwork.org/captivity/CaptiveseparationlistFinal.pdf). Orcas in the wild live almost their whole life with their mothers.

Enjoy exploiting sentient beings and bashing people who have different viewpoints than you. Guess all humans want is self-centered entertainment.


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Trua is not with his mother, which is how it would be naturally. “Trua is a male orca born at SeaWorld Orlando on November 23, 2005. His parents are Takara and Kohana. Takara and Kohana had just been moved to SeaWorld Orlando when she and Kohana met. At the time of Trua’s birth, Kohana was by Takara’s side and thus acted as the midwife. Trua currently lives at Sea World Orlando with six other orcas: Katina (matriarch), Tilikum, Kayla, Nalani, Malia and Makaio. Trua had been learning waterworks before they were stopped in 2010. Trua’s mother Takara was moved to SeaWorld San Antonio on February 5, 2009.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_captive_orcas


Martha Sullivan March 27, 2014 at 11:44 pm

“Malia’s mother Taima died in June 2010 after a difficult labor that resulted in a stillborn calf.” “Nalani is a young female orca who currently resides to SeaWorld Orlando, where she was born on September 18, 2006. Her parents are Katina and Taku (who is, due to inbreeding, also her brother).” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_captive_orcas.


Zach Affolter March 27, 2014 at 9:54 pm

SeaWorld recently posted a graphic on Social Media claiming that their research has a “positive ripple effect.” Not only is the graphic misleading, but disturbing.

The main statement, “SeaWorld shares its knowledge with others,” is quite misleading.

Have they shared…

The knowledge that enslaving intelligent, sentient beings is acceptable? The knowledge that you caused the SRKW population to become endangered? The knowledge that orcas swim over 100 miles a day in the wild? The knowledge that orcas live far longer in the wild, unlike they have falsely claimed?

The knowledge that 20% of orcas in the wild have collapsed dorsal fins even though Dr. Ingrid Visser called you out and proved otherwise? The knowledge that you separate mothers from their calves? Oh, and what about the knowledge of the Taiji dolphin slaughter? The list goes on and on and on…

Please view article for more!


Zach Affolter March 27, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Chris, you want me to believe SeaWorld’s website? As a matter of fact I did visit it when writing this article to prove its lies. Did you even read it? It has explicit quotes from the website you mentioned.


want2surf March 27, 2014 at 10:11 pm

People like Chris just argue by dragging people down and away from the entire point with financial arguments, distortion of what others have said and a seeming ability to sit and fire off responses all day. The lack of a response to him does not mean he’s right, or that he has won any argument. My hope is that there is a majority who do post saying SeaWorld can survive by getting back to its original purpose and without orca shows and that somehow the bill before the Ca Legislature passes. Chris can keep his hopefully minority opinion. He won’t change, as much as he demands everyone listen to him only, and he can rant all day if he wants. But the driving fact will remain that what SeaWorld has done and continues to do is cruel and says so much more about how humans cherish their own entertainment over other the lives of animals with a sentient existence and who have a sense of community, family, emotion and purpose. That’s it.


Chris March 27, 2014 at 10:22 pm

I love it when you have to personally attack people. I have not dragged anyone down. I have been the one that has been called name and accused of working at SeaWorld. I am not taking anything away from the original points. Everything i have brought up is because someone else on here brought it up so I counter back as it is my full right to be able to do that.

You are so funny saying that I have a minority opinion here. Maybe on this anti cap anti SeaWorld page I do but not out in the rest of the world. Do you realize the thousands of people a day who visit SeaWorld parks. Over 400 million people visit the parks

Where did I say listen to me only. SeaWorld isn’t perfect but they are a lot better then most out there and their are many places you could be going after but choose not to.

And for your information Martha is on here ranting away too but because she is on your side that’s ok right?


Barb Dunsmore March 27, 2014 at 10:44 pm

How SeaWorld Twists Scientific Papers to Misinform the Public

Indicative of how SeaWorld misinforms the public.


McKenna Grace Fisher March 27, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Barb I have to say this is one of the most articulated and fact filled pieces I have read by an activist about SeaWorld.
Chris it seems you have fallen victim to the stellar lies of SeaWorld. The irrefutable truth is available for all to read so instead of being combative here, perhaps you might wish to understand why this enslavement of whales is so detrimental to their over all health and welfare. Releasing these Orca’s to a sea Sanctuary would allow them to stay together and live with out the oppression SeaWorld has had them under for far too many decades. I understand your desire to protect what you have been taught to think of SeaWorld, mind you I grew up in San Diego and I remember when Shamu first came to their venue. I was also a child, however it seemed strange to me that a huge wild mammal would be doing tricks for food, yet as a child I was taught to accept and leave it be. I am seeing your cognitive dissonance clearly here and unfortunately for those of us who have examined this issue of captivity to such depths, in my opinion have more validity than your layman diatribe.
I get as well that you feel strongly about your convictions and also wish to share your thoughts. Good dialog is healthy. Perhaps you may wish to view the documentary Blackfish, that is if you haven’t already. The maybe you will have a more discerning opinion that has credibility of what you speak. We all wish for these animals to be without any more suffering and I hope you are one who feels the same way, ind of difficult to know based on what you shared. SeaWorld is about profit and they always have been, much like every other industry that exploits animals, from vivisection, to factory farming to circuses and so on. So take a moment to reflect on what it is you are so opposed to, because it has been clearly stated here that no one wants to see SeaWorld shut down, that is not our agenda, we simply want SeaWorld to stop enslaving these animals and profiting off of them. Humans doing tricks is far more exciting and there are ways SeaWorld could be creative and use that money they have made to restructure their entertainment portion of the business. I hope you take the time to watch Blackfish, The Cove and Earthlings. These films will open your eyes in ways you never could have thought they needed to be opened. They are all factually based and proven with documentation as well and intellectually stimulating and emotionally connecting. Be well

Barb a stellar piece I shared on FB and tweeted and I so love how you put this together… Brilliant sister just brilliant… Namaste mgf


Ron K. March 28, 2014 at 11:55 am

Reading the comments here is more entertaining then the story itself. Keep it going!


Eric Mills March 28, 2014 at 8:25 pm

It’s official: AB 2140 (Bloom) has been assigned to the ASSEMBLY WATER, PARKS & WILDLIFE COMMITTEE for a hearing on TUESDAY, APRIL 8, 9:00 A.M. (Even though the amended language will not be on-line until early next week. For updates, see http://www.leginfo.ca.gov) PLAN TO BE THERE IN SUPPORT, IF POSSIBLE.

This fight will likely focus on potential “job and tourist revenue losses,” rather than the REAL issues: ANIMAL WELFARE, ETHICS AND MORALITY. Be prepared.


The committee is chaired by ASSEMBLYMEMBER ANTHONY RENDON. Other members are Frank Bigelow, Travis Allen, Raul Bocanegra, Brian Dahle, Paul Fong, Jim Frazier, Beth Gaines, Mike Gatto, Jimmy Gomez, Lorena Gonzalez, Adam Gray, Jim Patterson, Freddie Rodrigues and Mariko Yamada. (NOTE: 10 Democrats, 5 Republicans. Should be a bipartisan issue, of course. It won’t be.) Committee consultant is Diane Colborn (email – diane.colborn@asm.ca.gov) CONSTITUENT LETTERS CARRY THE MOST WEIGHT.

ALSO WORTH NOTING: The Speaker-to-Be of the State Assembly is ASSEMBLYMEMBER TONI ATKINS (D-San Diego). She will have considerable say over how this pans out. She needs to hear from us, too. And a thank-you note to Assemblymember Bloom, the bill’s author, is in order.

Meanwhile, GOOGLE “orcas – dental problems” for yet another good reason to keep these extraordinary creatures in captivity. Go see the documentary BLACKFISH. And read David Kirby’s 2012 DEATH AT SEAWORLD. This year California. Next year Florida and Texas.

Thanks for caring.
Eric Mills, coordinator


Barb Dunsmore March 28, 2014 at 9:31 pm



Hi March 31, 2014 at 10:28 am

Yes, thank you, Eric…


sadiemae March 29, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Very well written article! Thank you for the article. I sure hope that SW grows with the times.


Verona March 30, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Here is a prime example of what SeaWorld’s audience is. The people who go there 2x a week every month. How can they do it you’d ask? This is how. It’s the pay for one day and come back the rest of the year for free. It’s people like these day passers who are filling the stands. Because no one and I mean NO ONE is going to pay $184 a week to see sentient beings perform stupid tricks for scraps of food.

SeaWorld has the ability to change their business model and rise above this with all of the technology out there. They could have a 3-D interactive experience much like what you see in the major theme parks like Disney, but they opt to continue with a business model that has outgrown it’s time. They also need to stop hiding behind the lie of research and education. You don’t pay a marine park to educate you, you bought an entertainment ticket.

Anyone who thinks it’s okay to keep an Orca in a tank that they cannot turn around in or dive to the bottom where 2 feet of their tail section remain surfaced is beyond me. These are sentient beings with a brain capacity much larger and higher functioning than our own. Also out of 139 Orcas taken or bred in captivity THIRTEEN REMAIN ALIVE. The math doesn’t add up. If those same Orcas were in the wild, those numbers would surely be reversed.

The time has come to #EmptyTheTanks. I oppose the captivity of ANY animal or cetacean. I do not support zoos, circuses, marine parks or the drive hunts in Taiji that feed the industry. I will not be silent until all tanks are empty. CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS: please support the Orca Bill AB2140. It is necessary legislation.


kenloc March 30, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Can’t say I have ever seen this many comments on a thread here.People going hungry,crime,gentrification,and many other important topics are addressed on this site,and this is what everyone gets fired up about?
I go to Sea World with my family and we have a good time there.We go to the zoo and Safari Park as well.
I am curious as to why people are just concerned with the whales?Because a movie told you a compelling story?(I’ve seen it) They have many other animals there as well,why do the whales have to be free but not the polar bears? Why doesn’t anyone have “free the penguin”signs?Haven’t you people seen Happy Feet?!!
Why aren’t you all in front of the zoo? Do you realize how many imprisoned animals are there?Perhaps you are waiting for the next great documentary to come along about the plight of the elephants or giraffes in captivity. Maybe they can find a few elephants that have killed a trainer or giraffe that is a finger biter to make it riveting.


Frank Gormlie March 31, 2014 at 10:20 am

kenloc – without addressing your comments directly, there is a funny thing that does occur on internet sites such as ours around topics that draw readers’ attention enough to leave comments. We could run an article that shows that the end of the world is coming – and there will no comments. But when we run something that is more “topical” such as best beer in OB or best pizza or best tacos, we’ll be flooded with comments.


Suzanne Carlson April 8, 2014 at 2:25 am

Bravo, Ms. Dunsmore, Bravo! Your well-researched piece tells the facts: Jamming ocean dwellers in cramped concrete tanks is morally indefensible. It’s just too bad the SW trolls are out in force.


Barb Dunsmore April 8, 2014 at 11:42 am

Thank you Suzanne! The hearing just ended. Because there are not enough votes to pass it out of Committee, Committee Chairman Anthony Rendon saved the orca bill by sending it to interim study. Revisit next year! Gives us lots of time to build up an even bigger coalition!



cul grognasse May 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Remarquable poste : persiste de cette façon


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