Wednesday, October 28, 2015

SeaWorld Bites!

A cardinal rule of blogging is to post on a regular basis... and often. When I started my blog I knew I wouldn't be following that rule because I want to post only when I have the time to put into writing something I consider worth your time to read.

Most of my previous blog posts have been about dogs. I have always felt a deep connection to them and most of my hands-on volunteer work is with dogs. But this doesn't take away from the love I have for all #animals and my passionate belief that every living creature deserves to be treated with compassion.

People who use animals to make money regardless of the suffering that it may cause the animal are the epitome of greed and selfishness. Some of the people who do this even claim that the animals are happy. An example that immediately comes to mind is the orcas at SeaWorld. Orcas living their entire lives in a small cement pool instead of the ocean is comparable to a person living their life in prison... but without friends, TV, a phone, a computer, or any other form of entertainment. Courts use prison as a punishment for serious crimes. It is hoped that by being deprived of their freedom, offenders will be more likely to abide by the law in the future. But orcas held in captivity are there for one reason only: someone is making a lot of money at their expense. And unlike most criminals, orcas don't get released once their time is served or they are paroled.

#SeaWorld continues to claim their orcas are healthy but the evidence I have read implies otherwise. Consider this article on, a website for animal lovers ( In response to the many accusations that #SeaWorld mistreats its animals, CEO Joel Manby says, "The facts are on our side." The article addresses some of the false statements #SeaWorld makes in its efforts to hide the truth. I will only mention a few but I hope you will read the article for yourself.

According to, "Last year, SeaWorld tweeted a picture of a mother orca and her calf to illustrate their respect for the 'mother-calf bond'. They neglected to mention that the baby in the picture had been shipped off to Spain." John Hargrove, a former SeaWorld trainer who has since become an advocate against the corporation, states that he knows of at least 19 calves that have been separated from their mothers while still dependent. In the wild, it is not uncommon for orcas to spend decades alongside their mothers. In response to SeaWorld's claim that it has never used food deprivation to make its orcas perform, John Jett, another former SeaWorld trainer counters, "I have both seen and have been a part of depriving whales of food too many times to count."

In April 2015 Joyce Kuhl filed a class action lawsuit against SeaWorld in Florida for misleading the public by claiming their orcas are "healthy and thriving". The lawsuit also states, “captive orcas are also subject to drugging by #SeaWorld personnel with antipsychotic and psychoactive drugs, including benzodiazepines such as Diazepam (generic Valium), which are given to calm the captive #orcas which react against their conditions of confinement.” ( Yet Manby continues to assert that their orcas are "healthy and happy". I'm sure he doesn't want the public aware of the drugs because the fact the orcas need these drugs makes it very clear that they are neither happy nor healthy.

So how likely is it that SeaWorld will stop breeding orcas and let them live out the remainder of their lives at a marine #sanctuary simply because it is the right thing to do? Highly unlikely as long as they can make a profit. But there is hope. After years of mounting pressure, #RinglingBrothers has succumbed to public protest. #FeldEntertainment, Ringling’s parent company, said they are “adapting” to the changing climate and “mood shift” among their customers. By 2018, all of their traveling #elephants will be retired to a conservation center in Florida. When we buy tickets to go to #SeaWorld, a #circus with animal acts, or any other organization that makes a profit from the suffering of animals, we are funding this abuse. Ringling Brothers didn't make this decision because it was the right thing to do but rather because it was taking a toll on their image.

As people who want to put an end to #animalabuse we must speak up. Speak up to SeaWorld, speak up to pet stores that support the #puppymill industry by selling puppies, speak up to any organization that causes animals to suffer. But especially speak up to your local, state, and federal representatives. They need to know there has been a "mood shift" and that if they don't step up to #protectanimals, we won't we be stepping up for them on election day. Speak up!