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Mar 18

SeaWorld to end Captive Orca Breeding Program

Killerwhales_240pxOn March 17th, SeaWorld announced it would cease its captive breeding program for orca whales. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), this turn of events points to an eventual end of keeping whales in captivity for public exhibition. It will also ensure that the orcas currently in SeaWorld’s possession will be the last generation held captive by the company. HSUS has lauded this step as a move towards an economy of the future in which corporations will be held responsible for their actions and will be forced to adapt accordingly.

Since the release of Blackfish, the eye-opening documentary about SeaWorld’s practices, the company has experienced falling attendance and profits, the San Diego Tribune reported. In 2015, SeaWorld took in a paltry net income of only $5.8 million, down from $37.4 million the previous year. In 2014, recognizing its severely tarnished reputation, the firm underwent a major restructuring and cut 300 jobs. The theme park then launched an extensive media campaign to correct what CEO Joel Manby called “misinformation,” presumably referring to the much-watched documentary.

SeaWorld also announced in 2014 a series of upgrades to their killer whale facilities. These improvements, such as deeper tanks and fast-current “treadmills” are intended to give the orcas a more pleasant captive experience.

“This is a defining moment. The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change,” said Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of Blackfish.

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