In 2015, the Plant-Smart Living team had the opportunity to visit SeaWorld San Diego. It was an experience met with much trepidation and confusion. In some ways, it was a rather emotional visit as images of the documentary Blackfish resonated heavily in our minds and hearts. The picture painted in the film was very bleak, but seeing the amusement park up close and personal brought additional perspective.
Regardless of opinion, I think we can all be happy in knowing that SeaWorld has chosen the high road. If we have to have such a large national (and international) debate about the welfare of killer whales, or orcas, kept in captivity; I am happy to see that humanity has taken a step forward towards airing on the side of caution.
As announced on March 17, 2016, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Inc. has come to an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States indicating that "...the era of captive display of orcas will end." This is a direct quote from HSUS President and CEO: Wayne Pacelle.
While it may still be some years until orca displays are fully dismantled or converted into aquariums for other smaller sea life that fairs better in captivity, it has also been indicated that the theatrical orca shows that SeaWorld is most known for will begin to phase out (over the course of the next 3 years) and be replaced with more natural, educational shows.
I would commend SeaWorld for taking this action, as it is gigantic in it's impact. I say this largely because SeaWorld operates as a "for profit" business, and the staple of their brand has been their orca shows and imagery. Even their logo features an orca jumping into the air. The question will no doubt become: how does SeaWorld move forward? I suppose this will be answered with time, but the preliminary response from the public has been overwhelmingly positive. It's worth noting, that SeaWorld's stock also saw a huge bump after this announcement. One thing is crystal clear: the time for change is now.
I would advocate that we take this announcement from SeaWorld as a reason to jumpstart your own goals to live a healthier and more Earth sustaining lifestyle. If a major corporation like SeaWorld can much such a radical change that conflicts with everything they have represented for decades, you can also make valuable changes that impact your own life. As Farmer Fred discusses often, the switch from a meat-based, SAD diet (Standard American Diet) to a plant-based, vegan friendly diet has been in itself revolutionary for himself on a personal level. But, of course, the impact of the environment while not overtly noticed is still significant.