Birth at SeaWorld Means Another Lifetime of Suffering
Another calf has been born at SeaWorld - meaning that most likely SeaWorld will be able to stay in the orca captivity business for at least another few decades. Much fanfare was made over SeaWorld’s decision last year to stop using orcas like breeding machines, with even The Humane Society of the United States stepping up to laude the company’s announcement that this generation of orcas would be the last.
However, it remains painfully clear that SeaWorld made this announcement begrudgingly, lamenting the revenues that will be lost over the eventuality of not having orcas to treat like commodities. SeaWorld veterinarian Chris Dold called the last orca birth in captivity “a solemn reminder of how things can change and how things can be lost.”
This attitude, and the terrible treatment and living conditions of the cetaceans at SeaWorld, is what landed the company on the top of In Defense of Animals’ 10 Worst Tanks list.
The calf, whose sex has yet to be announced, may live to be up to fifty years old – that’s potentially five more decades of SeaWorld making money off of the lives of orca whales. The calf was born to Takara, a whale with a sad history who has been forced to give up many of her five children in order to serve SeaWorld’s bottom line. One of her offspring was moved to SeaWorld Orlando and another has been loaned out, like a piece of property, to a facility in Tenerife, an island off the coast of Spain. While SeaWorld has indicated that it has no current plans to separate Takara from her newborn, you just never know with SeaWorld – and it has shown, time and again, that it simply does not care about any heartache this causes.
SeaWorld continues to deny these orcas any chance at a good life by allowing them to retire to seaside sanctuaries, as is being proposed by the Whale Sanctuary Project. This project recently received a one million dollar cash infusion, demonstrating that support for cetacean sanctuaries is growing. Yet, SeaWorld refuses to entertain this possibility and in so doing refuses captive orcas the opportunity to feel the natural rhythms of the ocean ever again, to be free of concrete tanks, or to have even a shred of privacy or agency throughout their days.
Despite all of SeaWorld’s claims to be changing for the better, the fact remains that every single one of its cetaceans suffer greatly. SeaWorld will hang onto their bodies, displaying them and making money off of them, as long as it possibly can.