By Meghan Jacinto
The struggle to release orcas from captivity is an ongoing concern. Recently, PETA has been purchasing SeaWorld stock in the hopes of ending killer whale captivity for good. By investing in more stock, PETA aims to gain control over the well-known animal park in order to relocate the animals to larger coastal sanctuaries. Due to their large size, PETA estimates that it takes a killer whale at least 1,500 loops around a tank just to equal the distance it would swim in the wild. However, SeaWorld says what their whales do in captivity will help promote the growth of killer whales in their natural habitat. After the documentary Blackfish, more individuals have become aware of some of the issues orcas have in captivity, such as attacking (and at times killing) trainers due to accidents in the water. SeaWorld is persistent in saying that the trainers are fully aware of the very high risk of training with these larger animals. SeaWorld also did not make a comment on PETA’s stock purchase plan, but said in a statement, “We are proud of our world-class standards of care. We’re also proud of our work rescuing wild animals in need, rehabilitating them and returning them to the wild. These are real and tangible efforts that are making a difference. We wish the same could be said for PETA’s efforts and use of their funds.”
As usual, there are two sides to this important issue. Continued research and education on the Sea World dilemma will one day lead to positive changes for other wild creatures living in captivity for their protection – and our enjoyment.