Readers' Opinions

From Duncan Henny on December 17, 2013 at 12:17 AM
i hope so i like sea world and the work they do to help animals is outstanding,
The blackfish film was one-sided and wasn't very good it's just dumb artists jumping on the hype train. I don't see anyone complaining about Animal Kingdom or busch gardens
From Wok Creative on December 17, 2013 at 12:39 AM
They are just being extremist. Sea World, along with other zoos and aquariums hold to very high standards, with many checks and balances (& regulators). The educational factor, and awareness that is brought to helping the whole animal population, far outweighs the few incidents that have happened. The tragedies that have happened to trainers have been in situations that they have known could be a possibility when working with wild animals. It is sad that these things happen - it just shouldn't be the focus. Many animals lives have been saved (and, in some ways, some human lives in different ways) through all that goes on in these facilities.

If the publicity of these few extremist people brings in more people - great.

From Kelly Muggleton on December 17, 2013 at 2:17 AM
My two inital thoughts were mirrored in this article.
That will save Seaworld some money.
They knew it was BBQ right?
I assume these bands will now also stop wearing leather pants (how cliche of me) and leaving huge carbon footprints with moving around all their equipment too?
From Mark Hollamon on December 17, 2013 at 4:08 AM
I love how REO pulled out to make a statement. If memory serves me correctly they played a show in a parking lot in Orlando to a crowd of about 200 people a few years ago. Not only will their absence not keep us away, we are considering purchasing annual passes this week because of all the unfair press SeaWorld is receiving.

I would say it's their choice to show up or not and my choice to buy their CD's or not, but seriously, none of these acts has have been relevant in the music scene for many, many years so there is nothing NOT to buy.

From 81.133.199.73 on December 17, 2013 at 4:24 AM
Did these bands not know that Sea World has Killer Whales and Dolphins when they signed their contracts? If they actually cared about it, they wouldn't have agreed in the first place. To pull out is ridiculous and just shows how shallow and fickle they are.
From Ashleigh Noad on December 17, 2013 at 5:58 AM
Interesting thoughts.

I think the nature of the documentary prompts people to be 'social media activisits', or sign e-Petitions and proudly proclaim they will never visit a SeaWorld park again; very easy to do. It is lazy and often I think people want to appear to be sympathetic towards these controversial issues because they think they will seem intellectual in doing so.

What gives me the biggest laugh is when you read predominantly Disney-centric discussion boards that say SeaWorld is disgusting and will never give the company another dime. These are the same people that are no doubt happily planning their next Disney vacation, which includes a trip to Animal Kingdom. Just because the lions at Animal Kingdom aren't doing backflips or performing like Shamu, the animals are still out of their natural environment and not acting instinctively, akin to acting. Moreover, the whole theme of EPCOT can be perceived as Disney's celebration of human dominance over the nature world!

Quite frankly I see this media attention dying down after a while. In the grand scheme of things, it really isn't making the global impact people think it is anyway. We are just more exposed to it as theme park enthusiasts.

From Tim Hillman on December 17, 2013 at 6:05 AM
With the faux protest dropouts, Sea World can now add Phish and Meat Loaf to the lineup. ;>)
From Anon Mouse on December 17, 2013 at 9:38 AM
Not all bad publicity is good publicity. Bands pulling out of the concert series is bad business. The fans suffer because they don't see the bands that they like. SeaWorld will still take a hit regarding the Blackfish documentary. The activists who call on the boycott is actually hurting the animals. SeaWorld helps wild animals. They are a research institution. If the activists get their way, nature is the only solution and we know what happens then.

As for the concert series to focus on the barbeque, that's a nice sentiment, but they still needs weekly announced bands to keep the momentum. Disney doesn't do concerts because they are just different. SeaWorld needs an additional incentive to drive attendance. Maybe they can do something different. Bring in the circus. Have RingLing Brothers circus or another popular circus do a headlining concert series. RingLing Brothers were also in the news lately for their treatment of their animals. Oh well...

From 75.254.236.97 on December 17, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Thank you for your article. I think you're right. There are thousands of great bands out there just waiting for an opportunity to showcase somewhere as prestigious as SeaWorld. All they need to do is put the word out.
From Eric Orlando on December 17, 2013 at 2:19 PM
Anon Mouse - Disney does do concert series. There is Eat to the Beat during The Food and Wine Festival and the Sounds Like Summer series as well.
From 98.28.239.25 on December 17, 2013 at 3:22 PM
"Not all bad publicity is good publicity. Bands pulling out of the concert series is bad business. The fans suffer because they don't see the bands that they like. "
For the most part, these bands are "Meh, there's nothing better going on" bands.
If the bands were that cherished, they wouldn't be doing these venues.
You don't see Rush in a parking lot. The bands on to the NoShamu list aren't that great of a draw, or else they'd be filling coliseums, not swimming pools.

Did any of these bands think before this how the loud music might affect the animals?

From 67.2.194.132 on December 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM
Why don't you allow people to post if there is nothing to hide. This is still a democracy where we all have the freedom of speech. We, as compassionate people, know you are doing this only for the money. By disallowing free speech on this blog you are becoming one of the norms by not letting people discuss and debate. Your mere piddling remarks by your paid employees are not helping your cause. $eaworld had a chance to talk about the BlackFish film. They declined. Why? Well I guess you know the answer to that one. Running scared??!! Oh yeah, you all are. Sleep well tonight as the Orcas and Dolphins in captivity will not, in their 20 ft by 20 ft pools, alone without their families. Rest well as you count your money. Happy Holidays and have a most merry Christmas!
From 70.110.74.125 on December 17, 2013 at 4:27 PM
I think that SeaWorld will be fine. I've never been to a park specifically to see a group or artist preform. I go to see the animals and it is the best place to see sea animals. Thank you for all you do for the whales that beach themselves on our shores and the manatees that fall ill or get hurt. SeaWorld doesn't need a rock group to ROCK!
From 24.69.86.183 on December 17, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Speaking of one-sided; see article and comments above.

It's obvious you are picking and choosing the comments that support your industry partner. It's not about BBQ's vegetarianism or SeaWorld's marine conservation efforts.

It is about holding captive an animal that scientists and experts all agree is unsuitable for captivity.

It is about "empathic concern." (You may need to google it.)

I realize that this will not be posted but it felt good to do anyway.

From 208.36.224.35 on December 17, 2013 at 5:08 PM
Wow how long did it take you to make up this story far fetched story... you would make an excellent SeaPuke employee.... ... LOL
From 69.35.200.252 on December 17, 2013 at 5:44 PM
It is too bad Sea World does not just stick to taking care of and educating animals. The movie Blackfish has hurt them because people are seeing a side of Sea World that has never been seen before. And to know how these animals are obtained and forced to do non education and stupid tricks is really starting to make people wake up. I would rather see them as a education facility instead of what I see as animal abuse.
From Anthony Murphy on December 17, 2013 at 6:02 PM
Whose freedom of speech is being silenced? I think it would speak volumes if you signed up for the site and used your real name. I also do not think Robert Niles is making wads of cash off of this.

Anyway, I actually think Robert's article makes really good points. I would be more inclined to go for the food and some of the entertainment. We do not plan our Food and Wine Festival specifically to see people or bands.

What really gets me is that Joan Jett actually was going to perform at Seaworld. She is a very vocal supporter of PETA. So much so that she made a radio ad against Butterball during Thanksgiving. Seaworld is number one enemy on PETA's list. I think she got caught and is blaming this "documentary" for her departure.

Go if you want, stay home if you want. In the end, it really doesn't matter

From 50.140.21.51 on December 17, 2013 at 8:16 PM
If you support the kidnapping sentient, intelligent, marine mammal babies for the purpose of human entertainment and are okay with creating a highly unnatural environment where they are deprived of space, family, community, stimulation, and essentially every natural need, then go ahead and support this aqua jail.
From 98.210.152.250 on December 17, 2013 at 8:55 PM
These animals suffering at theme parks for our "entertainment" are living, sentient beings. Suggesting that mammals spending their lives in captivity in spaces equivalent to a bathtub, alone (see: Lolita) shouldn't be addressed because there are also places with captive animals like Animal Kingdom doesn't make sense. I'm not sure why addressing one individual or animal's plight becomes less significant when pointing out that there might also be a whole host of other animals suffering, or living in captivity. If the world operated this way, what would be the point of anyone ever doing a good act to help another - as there are always people still doing bad things, and always more people suffering. Why feed one starving child? There are just so many starving children!

This form of defensive posture of finger pointing does not make up a responsible society. Moreover, I'm not sure what "artists" the first poster means when talking about what Black Fish exposed. There is something fundamentally wrong with breaking up free, wild families for our entertainment and education. I think its easier to stay disconnected from the fact that whales are complex, social beings because acknowledging that, and really taking a moment to reflect on how we as humans have treated them is almost too much to bear.

It does matter whether you go or not. We do have power as individuals to say "no more." This needless suffering must end.

From O T on December 18, 2013 at 1:25 AM
Sea World calls his animals ambassadors. They are aware that animals in captivity are not the same as in the wild. They don't have predators and they'll live much longer.

I went to Sea World with my nephew. He had planned to take a powerboat tour. I promised to take him there if he would come with me to Sea World but I wouldn't join him in his trill ride because of environmental reasons.
He saw the mutilated manatees and Sea turtles and got tears in his eyes of Sea Worlds message. He cancelled his powerboat ride and enjoyed the trills in the park.

That alone is prove to me the park work. They work extremely hard to get a better understanding of the species, treat them better than the Americans treat their own children (1/5 goes to bed hungry!) and I think there are more important things to be concerned about.

From 80.254.148.195 on December 18, 2013 at 4:28 AM
You delete comments, which not agree with your article. This is what´s called censorship. Poor.
From Ashleigh Noad on December 18, 2013 at 5:31 AM
Could one of you lovely 'anonymous' posters explain why many the majority of you currently only focus on orcas and primarily SeaWorld? Why does the emotional intelligence or scale of the animal mean they deserve to be more protected than others?

I'm genuinely curious as to why you think orcas are more important because they are larger and have higher emotional intelligence. There are plenty of other captive animals.. plenty of other animal captivity organisations.. why focus on SeaWorld? Does this not just show you're riding the anti-SeaWorld bandwagon? There are many companies doing much worse and a lot exist in countries that don't have the regulation to protect them at all. Why don't you target those governments?

Genuinely curious, not trying to provoke an argument.

Edit: To the anonymous poster a few posts above, but why start with SeaWorld and orcas? I would have thought targeting governments to put regulation in place to stop this all-together would be more effective. The boycott that results in a loss for one company will result in a gain for another - is that why SeaWorld is chosen? Because change there will result in higher gain for the 'winners' (if you can call them that) in this situation?

I'm not saying SeaWorld should be allowed to carry on as it does, I've never been comfortable with the practices but I just don't see this approach working. Until this issue is taken seriously in governments around the world, I don't think the boycotts will be large enough to make a difference to these organisations.

From 66.229.213.241 on December 18, 2013 at 5:48 AM
Most of these bands can be found on your local Casino circuit. I'd call these "B" list bands playing for no cover at places like Hard Rock and Magic City Casino in Miami. So it's not only the theme parks that are trying to use "B" list bands to draw in more attendance, it's casinos.
From 68.33.229.16 on December 18, 2013 at 5:49 AM
I think that your thesis with regards to this article is merely wishful thinking, or perhaps an attempt to spin some positive out of the several negatives erupting over SeaWorld via the public interest in Blackfish.

Leaving aside personal feelings for a moment, the continuing rollout of the movie into different media venues with ever-increasing audiences can only and will only serve to hurt SeaWorld. Blackfish just hit Netflix, where it's streaming online, 24/7. It's certainly going to be nominated for several awards, including an Academy Award, which will most likely (a) drive more attention towards the movie and (b) prompt a quick re-release of the film into limited showings, primarily to drive exposure, sales and streaming purchases/viewings online. (It's ALREADY one of the top Netflix films, and it started to run on Wednesday of this week, I think?) If it wins the Oscar, expect a lot more viewers, and a lot more movement away from SeaWorld.

Moreover, the film has sparked a national conversation, or I should say, has continued a national conversation regarding the marine life display industry that never really abated from the time of Ms. Brancheau's death in 2010. The bands not playing at SeaWorld is more publicity than anything else, but it's free publicity, and it indicates that enough people have been impacted by the documentary to facilitate movement in the public spheres of influence.

I think that there's some degree of truth to this idea that SeaWorld is being painted with too singular a negative brush here, and that the situation has more nuance, more shades of grey than black and white, but I also don't think that a "support SeaWorld" groundswell will accomplish much...other than to make the supporters look really inhumane.

It might even provoke more disturbing revelations about the marine life display industry to rise to the surface. Perhaps this is why SeaWorld has been defensive to silent. To put this another way, the second someone comes forward with images of Ms. Brancheau's scalped forehead and chewed off arm, the game is over. And people more corporately inclined that the posters on this board know that.

SeaWorld, to its credit, has been pursuing a "less attendance/more spending per visitor" strategy, since their numbers began dropping, but that can only take them so far. I think, in the end, the park will have to suffer an attendance drop to a smaller size, as well as a rethinking of their business model with respect to the captivity of orcas, certainly.

The sooner they get to that reality, and position themselves as receptive rather than defensive, the sooner they'll move past this into whatever they are supposed to be in this century. I would argue that same point to SeaWorld defenders as well: Blackfish seems to be a paradigm shift moment for viewers. It's The China Syndrome with regards to Three Mile Island and the nuclear industry. Where one's viewpoint is changed via the documentary.

So defense isn't going to get you anywhere and offense will seem, well, offensive to those who have been impacted by the movie. One has to be receptive to the idea that keeping orcas in captivity isn't the ideal we were once sold. We can all move on to the next point: now what, rather than fighting over something so obvious.

From Tim Hillman on December 18, 2013 at 6:37 AM
Here's some advice for most of the anonymous posters:

1. You are not smarter than the rest of us. Arrogance and condescencion are no substitute for intelligence.

2. You are not "righter" than the rest of us.

3. Assuming that anybody on this site cares enough about you or your posts to censor you is a gross overestimate of your importance in the world.

4. Posting on this site anonymously just says that you don't have the conviction of your beliefs and are afraid to use your real name or are too lazy to sign up and get a handle. Either way, your positions are reduced to a lower level than even your words can bring them to.

5. People are people and animals are animals and there is a difference. Some of you appear to not have a full grasp of that concept.

6. Try to see the big picture. Most people won't get so see marine animals in the wild, so the good that Sea World does in educating the public about marine life far outweighs any negative aspects of the captive animals lives.

7. It's time to get out of mommy and daddy's basement, get a job, and join the real world.

I will say that you anonymous posters have affected me. I wasn't going to go to Sea World this year but I am now. See how persuasive you all are - Not!

From Daniela Harth on December 18, 2013 at 7:06 AM
@Tim Hillman,

as I am not an anonymous poster, I would like to tell you that it would be my pleasure to lock you up in your bathroom for three months, feed you with rotten food (compared to dead fish for cetaceans a good choice) and then let you out and ask you, if this was cool living.

You seem not to have understood that it´s not about conservational issues, rehabilitation or educational reasons, but for the insanity to put these large animals in inadequate living circumstances and perform lousy tricks to people like you to entertain them. If you can tell me, what the educational part of these performances is, you are welcome to explain.

And, with all respect, this article is something that SeaWorld would attest being written by a "misinformed individual". To be fair.

From 86.176.136.99 on December 18, 2013 at 7:24 AM
Hi I just want to answer Ashleigh

Apologies I don't know how to show my name. This is the first post I am making so the other posts are not me. (my name is verity)

The movement isnt just against seaworld. Captivity of all orca, whales and dolphins (cetaceans) is cruel for a number of reasons.

Their primary sense is sonar. They can't use it in a tank.

Cetaceans have 4 lobes to the brain. Land mammals have 3 lobes. Cetaceans are more emotional than humans. Dolphins make friends for life in the wild and have social memories which span a lifetime. Orca live with their mothers for life in the wild. Seaworld separate mother and calves. Cetaceans are self aware. They have their own languages and cultures just like humans. It's not just an animal rights issue. I'm a vegetarian who doesnt wear leather but even people who love a nice steak are realising that confinement of such intelligent animals is cruel. This is why they end up psychologically damaged. They have been known to commit suicide. In wild captures there have been instances of mothers choosing to stop breathing at the pain of their young being taken. In captivity there have been many cases of them banging their heads against the tank to kill themselves. The most famous one to do this was the dolphin in flipper (look up his trainer Ric o Barry on you tube for info) and also ric talks about an orca called Hugo killing himself at the Miami seaquarium.

The tanks do nothing to resemble their natural habitat. A snake exhibit probably at least has a tree for the snake. The tanks are chlorinated water, no live fish, no waves, and they dive REALLY deep in the wild. They can't dive deep in a marine park tank. Even if the tanks look quite big to a human remember they can swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild so by comparison it's common sense that they are too small.

I could give a lot of other reasons too but I'm sure that's enough to be going on with :)

In answer to the why seaworld question?

Seaworld have more orca than anywhere else in the world so for that reason they are a target for the orca welfare. This link shows the captive orcas - as you will see most are at seaworld:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_captive_orcas
Seaworld also own the orcas at loro parque in Tenerife, Spain which includes an orca called Morgan who was "rescued" from the wild and ended up performing tricks.
Seaworld are one of the better quality marine parks so they should be raising the standard significantly and leading the way in their approach to cetataceans. Ideally i would like to see an end to captivity but in the meantime Performing tricks is stimulation but it shouldn't be done for food. And it shouldn't be to loud music in a show like a circus act.

There is a lone orca called Lolita at the Miami seaquarium, one called kshamenk at mundo Marino in Argentina and one at marineland Canada. Activitists are also trying to get a better life for these animals but it doesn't make the news. Seaworld makes the news because they are a big name. If you look up kshamenk on google or you tube you will see conditions which would even disgust seaworld fans. He is not owned by seaworld yet they have paid mundo Marino for his sperm for their artificial insemmination breeding programme. Meanwhile his life doesn't improve.

In Russia 8 orca were recently taken from the wild and their fate is still unknown. Activists are also campaigning on this. But again it probably doesn't make the news.

There is also a cove in Taiji Japan where thousands of cetaceans (mainly dolphins) are slaughtered every year. Trainers from marine parks go to this cove and select the dolphins they want to have turning tricks in their parks (or hotels) and the dolphins that aren't chosen are slaughtered in front of their friends and families eyes. These are emotional, intelligent beings this is highly cruel. The sea turns red with all the blood. You can find out more about this by googling ric o Barry and the dolphi project. Also "cove guardians" Again this doesn't make the news because it happens all the time but we are campaigning against it.

With regards to governments, activists are also doing this. It's a multi pronged approach and really the goal is that the general public need to recognise and respect cetaceans for being the 2 most intelligent creatures on the planet (after humans) who are in some ways superior with some of their amazing skills. Eg Read this article which explains how dolphins xrayed a camera to see it was mechanical. Use invisible rays to stun prey and Also can send a picture of the fish they want to catch via sonar to other dolphins.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2519711/How-dolphins-say-I-love-bouquet-seaweed-Theyre-pushy-parents-make-best-friends-life--exfoliate-day.html

From Verity Eyre on December 18, 2013 at 7:35 AM
Hi I just want to answer Ashleigh

The movement isnt just against seaworld. Captivity of all orca, whales and dolphins (cetaceans) is cruel for a number of reasons.

Their primary sense is sonar. They can't use it in a tank.

Cetaceans have 4 lobes to the brain. Land mammals have 3 lobes. Cetaceans are more emotional than humans. Dolphins make friends for life in the wild and have social memories which span a lifetime. Orca live with their mothers for life in the wild. Seaworld separate mother and calves. Cetaceans are self aware. They have their own languages and cultures just like humans. It's not just an animal rights issue. I'm a vegetarian who doesnt wear leather but even people who love a nice steak are realising that confinement of such intelligent animals is cruel. This is why they end up psychologically damaged. They have been known to commit suicide. In wild captures there have been instances of mothers choosing to stop breathing at the pain of their young being taken. In captivity there have been many cases of them banging their heads against the tank to kill themselves. The most famous one to do this was the dolphin in flipper (look up his trainer Ric o Barry on you tube for info) and also ric talks about an orca called Hugo killing himself at the Miami seaquarium.

The tanks do nothing to resemble their natural habitat. A snake exhibit probably at least has a tree for the snake. The tanks are chlorinated water, no live fish, no waves, and they dive REALLY deep in the wild. They can't dive deep in a marine park tank. Even if the tanks look quite big to a human remember they can swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild so by comparison it's common sense that they are too small.

I could give a lot of other reasons too but I'm sure that's enough to be going on with :)

In answer to the why seaworld question?

Seaworld have more orca than anywhere else in the world so for that reason they are a target for the orca welfare. This link shows the captive orcas - as you will see most are at seaworld:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_captive_orcas
Seaworld also own the orcas at loro parque in Tenerife, Spain which includes an orca called Morgan who was "rescued" from the wild and ended up performing tricks.
Seaworld are one of the better quality marine parks so they should be raising the standard significantly and leading the way in their approach to cetataceans. Ideally i would like to see an end to captivity but in the meantime Performing tricks is stimulation but it shouldn't be done for food. And it shouldn't be to loud music in a show like a circus act.

There is a lone orca called Lolita at the Miami seaquarium, one called kshamenk at mundo Marino in Argentina and one at marineland Canada. Activitists are also trying to get a better life for these animals but it doesn't make the news. Seaworld makes the news because they are a big name. If you look up kshamenk on google or you tube you will see conditions which would even disgust seaworld fans. He is not owned by seaworld yet they have paid mundo Marino for his sperm for their artificial insemmination breeding programme. Meanwhile his life doesn't improve.

In Russia 8 orca were recently taken from the wild and their fate is still unknown. Activists are also campaigning on this. But again it probably doesn't make the news.

There is also a cove in Taiji Japan where thousands of cetaceans (mainly dolphins) are slaughtered every year. Trainers from marine parks go to this cove and select the dolphins they want to have turning tricks in their parks (or hotels) and the dolphins that aren't chosen are slaughtered in front of their friends and families eyes. These are emotional, intelligent beings this is highly cruel. The sea turns red with all the blood. You can find out more about this by googling ric o Barry and the dolphi project. Also "cove guardians" Again this doesn't make the news because it happens all the time but we are campaigning against it.

With regards to governments, activists are also doing this. It's a multi pronged approach and really the goal is that the general public need to recognise and respect cetaceans for being the 2nd most intelligent creatures on the planet (after humans) who are in some ways superior with some of their amazing skills. Eg Read this article which explains how dolphins xrayed a camera to see it was mechanical. Use invisible rays to stun prey and Also can send a picture of the fish they want to catch via sonar to other dolphins.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2519711/How-dolphins-say-I-love-bouquet-seaweed-Theyre-pushy-parents-make-best-friends-life--exfoliate-day.html

From robert morris on December 18, 2013 at 7:39 AM
I'm going to type slowly so the activist will be able to understand how the real world works.

First SeaWorld has not captured an animal from the Ocean since 1972...while The Georgia Aquarium that is partially funded by Turner Broadcasting (owners of CNN) do have animals that have been captured in the last decade.

So in fact you should be protesting the producers of the movie

For those who cite that the animals are in bathtubs and mis-treated...that on the face of it makes no sense as the protesters also site how much SeaWorld needs them. I think we all can agree you don't mistreat prized items.

For those who say that Orcas don't kill humans in the wild...your right the humans would die from the freezing water long before the orcas got to them

For those who say that it makes people not respect that orcas are carnivores...call the Teddy Bear industry first then lets deal with SeaWorld

For those that cite reduced life expectancy of orcas...you are comparing it to the maximum life of a wild orca...that's like getting mad because you live to 90 years old and someone on the Today Show Birthdays is 105.

For those that cite 4 trainers in the movie...maybe you should talk to the thousands of trainers that disagree...

For those that talk about the whales being breed in captivity...please speak with every pure breed dog owner, panda keepers in zoos and virtually every other animal in zoos

As for Tilly...realize that SeaWorld took that whale in from poor conditions ironically from a park under by a subsidiary of Warner Brothers (yes the owners of CNN)

unfortunately for the protesters you do have a very compelling argument except for FACTS...SeaWorld revenues went up last quarter so great job

From Oak A on December 18, 2013 at 8:46 AM
Yes, but I think what Robert is saying is that a park generally full of middle-aged/retired persons (given school is in session) would prefer the Beatles or the Rolling Stones in comparison to any other musical act that could possibly be scheduled to play. Therefore, it is both more ergonomical and economical to book a cover band. I saw that Disney employed this practice every single night of the recent Food and Wine Festival.
From robert morris on December 18, 2013 at 11:03 AM
@ verity

So you document a few suicides of whales in poorly managed parks yet leave out the 50 whales that beached them selves this month in Florida alone.

So the argument for suicide only happens in captivity is pretty much out


And even my seven year old son knows shamu's tank is salt water

And again SeaWorld has not captured a whale from thw wild in over 40 years, so why are you using those incidents as relevant

And do you know who ends up taking care of those beached whales and animals at the poorly run parks...SeaWorld

Under your logic we should also protest all companies that make treats for dogs since we don't want to treat them for "shaking hands" or "rolling over"

Also we should outlaw ice cream since I took my son for it as a reward for good grades

From Tim Hillman on December 18, 2013 at 11:08 AM
@Daniela and Verity. Thank you for joining the site. Since Robert Niles will no longer be able to "partner" with Sea World, he needs all of the traffic to the site he can get so he can replace that lost income with advertising revenue.

@Daniela. I find it odd that someone who feels such compassion for marine animals would take pleasure in locking a member of their own species in their bathroom for three months and feeding them rotten food. I don't take offense at it though since as a government worker who has spent a considerable portion of his adult life in cubicle farms inside buildings with no windows, it might be a step up in my quality of life. As far as the rotten food goes, I've survived for several days on snack bar food and Ramen noodles, so that might be an improvement too. The only concern that I have is that my wife might read this and get ideas. I could lose my lofty position of sitting quietly in the corner and get exiled to the bathroom. ;>)

As far as explaining the benefit of a park like Sea World, it is simple. The more exposure that the general public gets to creatures like the orcas, dolphins, manatees, seals, and penguins, the greater compassion that people develop for them and conditions for their species as a whole improves. In my own case, I have developed a greater awareness of manatees in my home state of Florida, and try to operate my watercraft in a manatee-friendly manner.

You and others may not like the cheesy performances that Sea World uses to draw in the crowds, but enough education gets slipped in with the entertainment so that people are actually learning something about the animals. Personally, I believe that Sea World is far more effective in shaping public awareness of marine life than the pompous and rabid frothings of some of the anonymous posters on this thread.

Finally, there are far too many real issues facing the human race to get worked up over some perceived mistreatment of the animals in captivity at Sea World. Getting worked up over what you and others arbitrarily define as inadequate living conditions is just plain silly.

From Annette Forrest on December 18, 2013 at 11:14 AM
As always, Robert Niles leads the way in providing thought-provoking writing to the theme park world. I swear, Robert is probably THE best expert and journalist covering the theme park world there ever has been. I never see anyone with the unique take on issues he has. We are lucky to have TPI to read.

I have only been so-so following this controversy because Sea World is just not a place my family enjoys. For us, we'd rather go to a zoo or aquarium. We don't like the animal shows, but it's not a political thing. We also don't like the circus either. My parents took me to Sea World and the circus and I didn't much like it. I'm pushing 40 and when my folks were little the circus was exciting for them, and they were surprised their kids did not like it. My parents LOVED Sea World and my mother especially loved all the shows.

I thought they were kind of dumb to be honest. Sitting there on wet plastic or steel benches, watching the animals move around in a tank, jump a bunch of times. The shows felt like they went on for hours and hours...and really once I see a dolphin jump or an otter grab something and run around with it once, I really don't need to keep sitting there. I wanted to be out riding rides or exploring things, not sitting and watching the animal shows.

My kids have even less interest in Sea World. We took them there exactly once and they have since been very adament about us never "making" them go there again. Where we live, we have all the marine animals at either our zoo or aquarium, except the killer whales.

But, for us the killer whales are like pandas. They are cool to see. It's rare to see them. I think a child should see them in person at least once. But once we've seen them we're kind of over it quickly.

From Robert Niles on December 18, 2013 at 11:17 AM
I just emailed this to yet another reader complaining that everyone in the world hasn't rolled over to the anti-animal-captivity position:

Hello,

We have not deleted a single comment on this issue from a registered member of the website. We hold anonymous comments to a higher standard of civility in order for them to be approved for display -- including that such comments not include personal attacks on any registered member of the site, including the authors of posts. It seems that many Blackfish fans are having trouble making a case for their position without attacking other people in that process.

Indeed, in more than 10 years of running this online community, I have never encountered a more paranoid, abusive or hostile group of readers than Blackfish fans.

It's a shame, really. I think that there are many people on the site who would be sympathetic to an evidence-based argument on how animal exhibits could do a better job of protecting wildlife. But it seems impossible, at this point, that anyone associated with Blackfish is capable of making an argument based on evidence and reason. It's all just bluster, emotion, and attacks. That doesn't speak well for their position.

How ironic that people who espouse more humane treatment for animals can't seem to practice that toward other human beings.

Thanks for writing,
Robert

From Robert Niles on December 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM
One more thing: If you read it closely, you'll notice that there's nothing in this article that defends SeaWorld. In fact, there's an implicit attack on the company in there - that SeaWorld's foolishly stuck with an inefficient promotion in booking expensive "name" bands for its festival and that only a coordinated campaign by anti-captivity activists might push them toward a more profitable alternative.

Also, some of these acts are bailing on SeaWorld based on 5,000 signatures on an online petition. Seriously? You can get a name music act to do whatever you want by getting 5,000 signatures on an easily-gamed online petition? Time to get creative, people!

From Brian Emery on December 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM
So many scared fools using digital courage… Bla bla bla…

As a once super intelligent person once said - “I would rather have a short happy life than a long miserable one”…

There mammals are cared for much better than most humans….

Yes an orca in captivity does not live as long as one in the ocean…(If that ocean orca does not get killed by whalers in Japan or catches a disease or get stuck in a net or whatever)….

They are cared for Period…. If you even owned a kitten or puppy, you did the same damn thing by taking away from their parent and putting them into your captivity. How about those of you who own a fish tank? Is that not the same thing?

Did you even think that education of the Public will save a ton of Orca’s in the ocean… Well it will.

PS - I just had a Tuna sandwich....Is that Bad?

From 68.33.229.16 on December 18, 2013 at 1:47 PM
After reading most of the responses to this post, I think I've discovered the perfect set of people to compete and lose to a literally retarded debate team.
From Tim Hillman on December 18, 2013 at 1:55 PM
Did you use lite mayo or regular mayo on the sandwich?
From Brian Emery on December 18, 2013 at 2:03 PM
Hahahah - Nice one Tim, And it was Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise...
From Tim Hillman on December 18, 2013 at 2:08 PM
That was bad. You should have used the lite mayo.

It would be really bad if you were watching Whale Wars and cheering for the Japanese fleet while eating the sandwich.

From 150.101.201.161 on December 18, 2013 at 3:07 PM
Champ, how much did you get payed for this "article"/advertisement? SlaeWrold spends millions to advertise (and pay people like you) their business of enslavement, torture and killing (yes dolphin caught but not sold to slavery are killed in Taiji, Japan). We Humans, animal right activists or concerned citizen do not have that amount of money, but we have our Love and creativity to counterbalance the monstrosity of SlaveWorld. We also hold protest outside SlaveWorld, talk to our friends, boycott movies such as Anchorman 2 featuring SlaWorld :-) I have a nice t-shirt which says "seaworld sucks" and I wear it in conjuction with my Sea Shepherd t-shirts. I donate monthly to Sea Shepherd and I am a Cove Guardian, having been on the Taiji Dolphin-defense campaign. See we do a whole lot more than change.org. Wake up! Open minds will dominate!!!
From 67.252.145.131 on December 18, 2013 at 3:36 PM
Bravo Robert Morris! You are awesome!
From 216.64.80.82 on December 18, 2013 at 4:05 PM
Thanks for this article and your carefully thought out comments Robert, I have always enjoyed reading this site. As a grunt in the theme park industry (I don't work for a park but in the ticketing business), I have to say that I have not seen any drops in Sea World attendance, rather a massive increase in the last few months ticket wise so this "protest" is not working to me.

Personally, the only person I might have been interested in seeing was Trisha Yearwood but I will go see Josh Turner instead if he does an Orlando show. The other bands leave me "meh", I saw Heart when they were young and good, the last time I saw them..I cringed...LOL..and the same goes for most of the others.

As far as the protesters go, you all sound the same and quite honestly, frothing at the mouth do gooders just completely turn me off their causes. If you can't think of a rational, polite, fact based debate, why should I bother responding to you? And let me say, there are several TLDR posts above. Stick to the facts, be rational and I might be more inclined to listen to you.

Oh and before you jump on my case about being an anonymous poster myself, I am at work and the higher ups would definitely not appreciate me posting here...LOL

From 70.55.31.190 on December 18, 2013 at 4:12 PM
As an animal right advocate I take offense to be called lazy - I work a full-time job, then I go home and work a second job which helps pay for all the animal rights activities I support and endorse. I am not lazy!
From robert morris on December 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM
List of Mammals in intelligence:

1. Humans
2. Whales and Dolphins
3. People who don't use Miracle Whip
4. People who complain about Theme Parks being crowded the week after Christmas
5. People who believe everything in Blackfish

From 72.39.136.84 on December 18, 2013 at 7:45 PM
Ask yourself this.
1. How would you feel if you were kidnapped from your family?
2. How would you feel if you were locked inside your car for decades?
3. How would you feel if you were forced to be in an environment that actually pains you every moment and all the while forced to perform stupid and dangerous tricks for a screaming crowd? If you refuse.. no food for you.
4. How would you feel if you were forced with a diet so restrictive that you have to take supplements and still suffer ill health?
5. How would you feel if you were held captive, enslaved and raped repeatedly in order for your children to become the fresh stock to have the exact same done to them too?


This protest isn't to shut down Seaworld. It is to bring to Seaworld's attention that they really have to get out of these barbaric ways and make changes. The circus acts need to stop. The artificial insemination has to stop. People need to see that what we see in the entertainment tent is just smoke and mirrors and this is not the life that these innocent beings ever deserved.
These animals have very high intellect and this type of environment hurts them to the core destroying their spirit.. and it is completely unnecessary and we will not tolerate it any longer.

This is what needs to stop. This isn't just Seaworld by any means but Seaworld can make a better example for others and put an end to the suffering that is at present Seaworld.

From 68.33.229.16 on December 19, 2013 at 1:06 AM
There's some disturbing trends out there, indicating that the "Blackfish" wave is far from over.

From CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/18/us/school-cancels-seaworld-california/

Now, while this is an isolated cancellation, if lots of school tours and large trips begin canceling, that will most certainly effect SeaWorld's bottom line (no matter how much more they attempt to make off each guest.) Moreover, this is in California, where unlike in Florida, SeaWorld is primarily a regional park that serves California and the surrounding Southwest. That region has a different mentality regarding animals, in general, then say, a polyglot of visitors from around the country and world (Orlando,) and the conservative majority (Texas.) So, this might really be bad for SeaWorld-as-local-destination while bad for SeaWorld-as-national-park-chain.

From the Orlando Sentinel:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/blog/tourism-central/os-amid-controversy-seaworld-starts-using-discounter-groupon-20131218,0,5488060.post

OK, this should freak every stockholder out, as this directly contradicts SeaWorld's last rosy quarterly call, where they were beaming at securing more money per guest (it also doesn't exactly help SeaWorld with regards to trust issues.) At $60 a ticket, there's no possible way that those attendees will spend more per day than those who are no longer attending. And even if this stabilizes their attendance numbers, its set a 40% discount precedent for SeaWorld. In effect, they are no longer a premium theme park experience regionally, nor a near-premium theme park experience nationally/internationally.

From CBS News:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/seaworld-petitions-aimed-at-musical-acts-are-harassment/

Let me include SeaWorld's quote to the press:
"This is a coordinated campaign of digital harassment and does not in any sense represent the opinions of the American public. A far better measure is the number of people actually coming to SeaWorld. "

In the first place, the idea of digital harassment not representing the opinions of the American public is severely offensive to those "on the fence" about SeaWorld after seeing Blackfish. The American public has a vast array of opinions: some are for SeaWorld, some are against, some are in between, pretty much like anything else. To put this another way, does one really think that those who filled their gullets with Chick-Fil-A to celebrate their beliefs in heterosexual-only marriages to really represent the totality of the American public? Of course not. Some are for, some are against, and some are somewhere in between.

However, ENOUGH of the American public, either prior to Blackfish or post-screening, has been moved by the movie. Their "free willy" sentiments may be simplistic as practical solutions, but that segment of the American public, those against the display, the capture and the breeding of orcas at least, is both growing and vocal. The attempt at discrediting them remains foolish on SeaWorld's part.

Second, a multi-million to billion dollar company is suffering from harassment. Cry me an ocean, SeaWorld! Use some of that cash to secure your own bully pulpit.

Finally, consider this:
A far better measure is the number of people actually coming to SeaWorld.

This belies two problems. The first is that the people actually coming to SeaWorld either haven't seen "Blackfish," don't care or love the SeaWorld experience. That's a control group that is, of course, "for" SeaWorld. That's like taking a poll of Disney attendees on how they feel about animated rodents in red pants.

The second is that it contradicts the last quarter statement from SeaWorld, where attendance is less important than revenue generated per guest. Clearly, there's attendance issues beyond the "activist" community frothing up with "Blackfish."

Just from a business standpoint, SeaWorld really needs to pull its head out of the sand. They're missing what is actually happening here.

From robert morris on December 19, 2013 at 2:12 AM
Ask yourself this.
1. How would you feel if you were kidnapped from your family?

SeaWorld has not captured a whale or dolphin in the past 40 years, please update your information

2. How would you feel if you were locked inside your car for decades?

I have no idea what this means..


3. How would you feel if you were forced to be in an environment that actually pains you every moment and all the while forced to perform stupid and dangerous tricks for a screaming crowd? If you refuse.. no food for you.

Good to see you are able to read whales thoughts, hopefully your LinkedIn account profile is up to date...also killer whales eat almost 500 pounds of food per day, so I guess the Shamu show is now 50 hours long to make your story true

4. How would you feel if you were forced with a diet so restrictive that you have to take supplements and still suffer ill health?

oh like vitamins that millions of Americans take daily


5. How would you feel if you were held captive, enslaved and raped repeatedly in order for your children to become the fresh stock to have the exact same done to them too?

enslaved: that went to court and was laughed out in 1 DAY...and please make sure to contact the American Kennel Club, every Zoo in America and have them discontinue all artificial insemination programs they do...and please do not use a word like raped so callously it cheapens victims experiences


This protest isn't to shut down Seaworld. It is to bring to Seaworld's attention that they really have to get out of these barbaric ways and make changes. The circus acts need to stop. The artificial insemination has to stop. People need to see that what we see in the entertainment tent is just smoke and mirrors and this is not the life that these innocent beings ever deserved.
These animals have very high intellect and this type of environment hurts them to the core destroying their spirit.. and it is completely unnecessary and we will not tolerate it any longer.

This is what needs to stop. This isn't just Seaworld by any means but Seaworld can make a better example for others and put an end to the suffering that is at present Seaworld.


I'm pretty sure SeaWorld understands these animals better than you ever will

From 70.160.35.13 on December 19, 2013 at 4:45 AM
No one does more for wild animals and wild places than SeaWorld. They are the reason orcas are no longer shot as pests over most of their range because we were introduced to them at SeaWorld. We know supporting the park also supports conservation and will be doing so with or without these washed up acts!
From Brian Emery on December 19, 2013 at 7:26 AM
As I said if you own a Dog, Cat, Fish, Turtle, Monkey, Bird, Goat, Hamster and so forth; you are now on the same level as SeaWorld. You took an animal away from its family and out of the wild.

Am I cruel because I make my Rat Terrier do a trick before I feed her?

Would she be better off if she was a wild dog? Should I set her free?

The show Blackfish (And it was a show) did exactly what they wanted to do. Fire up some folks and take in contributions. This is no different than Jerry Luis telethon or any other event\show that uses people’s emotions to guilt them into giving monies to help their cause….

My favorite Line in this thread was the higher ups would not like what I posted… hahahahaha Great joke….

From Tim Hillman on December 19, 2013 at 7:31 AM
After re-reading some of the animal rights activists posts on this thread, I can only wonder what Robert had to filter out. Some of these folks are totally out of touch with reality, which is a shame since there are abuses which occur throughout the world. I just don't see these abuses or any significant level of abuse occurring at Sea World. Like Robert has said, an evidence-based argument on how animal exhibits could do a better job of protecting wildlife would be welcome on this site, but I haven't seen it yet.

It is bad enough that some of you animal rights activists think that you're Doctor Doolittle and can talk to the animals or are Mr. Spock and can perform a Vulcan mind meld on Shamu, but what's with the bondage and rape obsession? Locking people in bathrooms? Locking people in cars? Rape? Kidnapping? Enslavement? Aside from the lack of leather (latex bondage gear only), party night at the animal activists convention must get pretty darn interesting.

Robert Morris - great job of trying to present a factual counter to the crazies, but you can't argue with a zealot. The people who demand that you have an open mind usually have theirs locked up tighter than the vault at Gringotts Bank. About the only thing you're effectively accomplishing is getting the peasants to gather up their pitchforks and flaming torches and head for the old windmill. Don't stop though, I haven't had this much entertainment in a while. ;>)

From robert morris on December 19, 2013 at 11:35 AM
funny thing happened on FB

I was responding to a Pro-Blackfish zealot who then went to my account and tried to get all my pictures pulled as being "pornographic"

Kinda funny...wife not so pleased with the humor

Note: All photos everyone is fully clothed and one is in front of the Christmas tree at Universal with my family


From Tim Hillman on December 19, 2013 at 2:04 PM
Robert, I forgot to mention that in addition to having the power to talk to animals and being able to perform the Vulcan mind meld, animal rights activists also have the power of x-ray vision. Yep, they can see right through your clothes, even in pictures. Your complaining FB animal rights zealot probably forgot to turn his superpower off when he was looking at your pictures and thus it was only an honest mistake. You really shouldn't be too bothered by the whole thing because he was only trying to save the world from seeing pictures of naked people with their clothes on.

Brian, don't forget that the people you're mocking can talk to the family pet. The rat terrier might be feeling a little disenfranchised right now after talking to the zealots about that little trick for treat program you've got going on. If I were you, I'd be really careful going down the stairs with the dog underfoot.

These Blackfish true believers are not nice people, but in their twisted view of the world, the end that they desire justifies whatever means they choose to employ.

From Robert Niles on December 20, 2013 at 10:42 AM
SeaWorld responds on animal care accusations: An Open Letter from SeaWorld’s Animal Advocates.