Target: Jim Atchison, President and CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.
Goal: Stop expansion of SeaWorld parks to other countries.
SeaWorld has announced plans to build parks in the Middle East by 2020 in spite of the recent negative publicity. It is no secret that SeaWorld has had a rough couple of years. This is bad news for current and future captive whales, as well as for the people who want to help them out of captivity.
The marine park has been under constant scrutiny since the release of “Blackfish,” a 2013 documentary which exposed the industry’s treatment of killer whales. SeaWorld’s profits have dropped and lawsuits are filed against the park regularly. Within the last few weeks, SeaWorld has been served three different lawsuits–two intent on gaining reimbursement for tickets purchased by past patrons, and one demanding that SeaWorld speak the truth about the psychological well-being of its captive whales. SeaWorld has remained steadfast in its publicized belief that it is not harming whales, but rather helping further education about them.
Such large, intelligent mammals do not belong in captivity, even if they were born and raised in a tank. Furthering injustices against killer whales by opening parks abroad is not conducive to a future where all intelligent mammals are respected and not experimented on. Urge the CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. to change his mind about opening parks in the Middle East and instead invest time and resources into phasing out the use of killer whales.
Dear Mr. Atchison,
First and foremost, I would like to thank you for remaining accessible and civilized with the public and press in regards to charges and accusations brought against SeaWorld. You have been quite transparent about your beliefs and your business, and that deserves respect.
I would like to address SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.’s decision to expand to the Middle East by 2020. While this is obviously a business decision, I believe it is appropriate to address the emotional repercussions this decision will have on killer whales.
Ever since “Blackfish” surfaced, there have been numerous studies on the mental health of captive killer whales. One such study brought to light the fact that killer whales do not kill people in the wild. However, they obviously do when they are in captivity. Whales like Tilikum are incredibly bored and depressed as they receive inadequate stimulation while held in a tank. Inadequate mental or physical stimulation is not for lack of trying on the part of SeaWorld’s staff; rather, there is simply no possible way to replicate the life a whale lives in the ocean.
Mr. Atchison, it is time to stop believing that captivity at SeaWorld is the best thing that can happen to a killer whale. Those magnificent beasts need freedom, family, and peace. They cannot attain these necessities in captivity. Please do not expand SeaWorld any further and, instead, find ways to reverse the damages to wild and captive killer whales that SeaWorld has caused.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Miss Quarrel via Flickr