Dear Mr. Jacobs
Dear Mr. Jacobs,
Recently, I watched a documentary called Blackfish. Things I saw in it shocked me – I could not believe your company treats orcas this way! I decided to investigate the subject deeper and stumbled upon a CNN interview with the SeaWorld. What can I say? Laughable. Your arguments are weak, twisted lies that definitely won’t save you from a court case. Therefore, I reviewed some of your major claims.
SeaWorld is a company that specializes in shows performed by marine animals. They also research the said creatures. They present themselves as if they were the animal heaven. In actuality, animals in SeaWorld’s jurisdiction face many challenges and unfair treatment. Besides, they are often subjected to conditions dangerous to their health and well-being.
Your orcas are malnourished. In your CNN interview, you insisted that “killer whales living in SeaWorld parks are given all the food they require.” May I then remind you of your training techniques? Instructors use food to award orcas for completing their commands; a whale’s failure to execute the task results in a lack of nutrition. In case of severe ‘misbehaviour’, this can lead to starvation! Unless your methods changed, your words contradict your actions. So how am I supposed to believe the rest of your remarks?
Talking about preposterous statements, I would like to ask you about another one of your comments. Your opinion on the documentary is: “The film is inaccurate and misleading.” However, you refused to cooperate with film producers. Why? It was a perfect chance to provide accurate information. This leads me to a conclusion that concrete facts might interfere with your official motives or destroy your reputation.
You sure care about your mental health. But do you care about the mental health of the animals you keep hostage at your parks? Here is a statement of yours: “Killer whales live in the company of other members of their species.” Strangely enough, this is true. However, it doesn’t do much good to the animals. In the wild, killer whales are extremely social animals inside their family group, but they are not so friendly towards outsiders. In SeaWorld, orcas are kept in groups different from their family groups and calves are often separated from their mothers. Do I need to remind you of Katina, a female orca that was clearly mentally damaged when you moved her four-year-old daughter to another park because she was ‘disrupting’ the shows by playing? Note that the audience thought of it as being cute and funny, not a setback. Is this what you call ‘mental stimulation’?
Well, at least it explains the abnormal aggression levels in the poor creatures. And I am not exclusively talking about aggression towards humans. I still can’t get the shocking scenes of orcas wounding each other out of my mind. Does that happen to killer whales in the wild? No. Therefore, you are not keeping them in a safe environment, even though you claim so.
I have evidence that you do not care about the physical well-being of the orcas you keep. You talked about SeaWorld’s “continual refinement and improvement to its killer whale facilities, equipment and procedures.” You, however, forgot to mention that these improvements don’t help. Not a single facility can replace a natural environment. The tanks provided for animals are thousands of times smaller than the areas they have in wild! Tiny metal boxes can’t possibly provide the whales with enough space to meet their natural amount of movement standards. Oh, sorry, I absolutely forgot that “While a killer whale might occasionally travel as much as 100 miles per day, it should be said that swimming that distance is not integral to whale’s health and well-being.” It seems that even though SeaWorld’s representatives occasionally use their brains, it should be said that it is not essential to their health and well-being. As you mentioned in the interview, most of what is known about killer whales is known from research in SeaWorld. Why, then, don’t you know your facts? The orca’s body is designed for travelling long distances and failing to do so can result in a collapsed dorsal fin, and I know for a fact that most of the whales in SeaWorld’s jurisdiction don’t have their fin raised up straight, as healthy orcas do. This proves killer whales in SeaWorld parks do not benefit from being in said parks, as only harm to them is caused.
I can go on about this topic forever, however, I’m not sure that it would change your attitude. At last, I just want to point out another one of your phrases, the one where you talked about “SeaWorld’s commitment to the safety of its team members and guests and to the care and welfare of its animals”. Unfortunately, commitment is not enough. When working with animals that have a history of lethal interactions with humans, you need to provide actual safety, not a subtle promise. If SeaWorld isn’t responsible for all of these deaths, then who is? You need to acknowledge your sins, not run away from them. It is the absolute minimum, but there is a better solution. I still bear the hope that one day you will understand that what was taken shall be returned.