SeaWorld San Diego to Phase-Out Orca Circus Shows

by on November 10, 2015 · 1 comment

in California, Culture, Environment, Health, History, Life Events, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego, Sports

Orcas SeaWorldSeaWorld Also Wants a Hotel on Mission Bay

The big news in our neck of the woods – or more accurately – our cove of the bay – is that SeaWorld has just announced that it is phasing out the Orca show performances at its San Diego park.  They will be phased out sometime in 2016 – which means they could go on for another year. And replaced in 2017 with a “new orca experience”one with a more “natural” setting.

On Monday, November 9th, the company posted a document that stated that the theatrical Shamu stunts here in San Diego will be replaced with an “informative” experience with a “conservation message inspiring people to act.”

The changes do not affect killer whale shows in Orlando, Florida and San Antonio, Texas, where they own other similar parks with orcas.

The good news is that the parent corporation has finally responded to the pressures exerted by activist groups, media coverage, falling attendance figures, politicians, government commissions, and the huge backlash since “Blackfish” was released in 2013.  There has been a tidal wave of public sentiment changing. Why, just today, the San Diego U-T is running a poll on whether you support SeaWorld’s decision to end the orca programs. With nearly 11,000 votes, 61% are saying the support it ot 38% opposed.

Nearly weekly protests outside SeaWorld gates by PETA and supporters, a recent ban on orca breeding by the California Coastal Commission in October, and then just last week, a California Congressman, Adam Schiff, announced that he would introduce legislation in Congress to prohibit the breeding, wild capture and import or export of the whales.

Yet, in front of his investors, SeaWorld president and CEO Joel Manby stated that the changes were not because of public criticism, as “activists aren’t going to be pleased with anything we do.”  He said:

“We start everything by listening to our guests and evolving our shows to what we’re hearing, and so far that’s what we’ve been hearing in California, they want experiences that are more natural and experiences that look more natural in the environment,”

“We didn’t do anything in San Diego because of the activists. We did it because we’re hearing it from our guests.”

Manby added that customers in San Diego have changed their tastes, that they want more of a natural experience – reflecting how orcas behave in the wild,  and that their guests don’t like actions that appeared to be tricks.

This is big news, and everybody is writing about it – from BBC to Rolling Stone.

It isn’t enough, says PETA:

An end to SeaWorld’s tawdry circus-style shows is inevitable and necessary, but it’s captivity that denies these far-ranging orcas everything that is natural and important to them. This move is like no longer whipping lions in a circus act but keeping them locked inside cages for life or no longer beating dogs but never letting them out of crates. PETA Foundation Director of Animal Law Jared Goodman said in a statement.

Fortunately, not everybody has lost some of the details. Lisa Halverstadt at Voice of San Diego luckily has focused on one of them, the efforts by SeaWorld to either build a hotel at its San Diego site or purchase one already built.

She centered on the corporate pursuit of “a SeaWorld-themed Mission Bay hotel deal”, and its partnering “with Evans Hotel Group, the high-powered owner of The Lodge at Torrey Pines and two Mission Bay hotels, to either build or purchase a hotel.” She warns that if it wants to build one, “it’ll need to follow city rules and clear a handful of regulatory hurdles.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

OB Dude November 15, 2015 at 9:25 pm

Following the stories and follow the money…. here’s two recent blurbs about Sea World


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