I saw this letter circulating among some zookeeper online communities I follow earlier today. It's the response of Joel Manby of SeaWorld to a concerned correspondent who was expressing her discomfort with the announced partnership between SeaWorld and Humane Society of the United States, most recently evidenced in SeaWorld's announcement that it would no longer be breeding orcas. I'll just leave this here...
Thank you for reaching out to express your concern for our recent
announcements. While we're confident of the steps we are taking for the
future at SeaWorld, we want you to know these were difficult decisions.
We also want you to understand why we made them. Ultimately, the issue
is: do we want a SeaWorld without whales over time, or a world without
We love our whales and we know you do, too. That's why
our whales have always received the highest standard of care from the
most dedicated professionals in the world. And that’s something that is
not going to change. In the months and years to come you will still be
able to experience the orcas. But instead of seeing these majestic
animals as you once did, we're creating new, exciting and more natural
looking habitats and experiences that will inspire the next generation
of guests to help protect orcas in the wild. These experiences will
continue to build love and appreciation for whales – as our current
shows have done for you.
Once we made the decision on the future
of our orca program, we felt it was important to work with a former
adversary, like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), who
would support our decision and agree that our killer whales are not
suitable for sea pens. In addition to supporting our decision, HSUS
also recognizes that SeaWorld's rescue facilities and expertise are
incredibly important to save and house the thousands of marine mammals
stranded a year. Based on our experience, having a third-party voice
confirm our point of view is critical to driving the narrative about the
dangers of these so-called sanctuaries and the important work SeaWorld
does on rescue and conservation.
SeaWorld and HSUS also agree the
oceans are in crisis and so are the marine mammals that live there.
Commercial whaling and seal hunting, and the deplorable practice of
shark finning must be stopped. These are things HSUS and SeaWorld can
agree on. And, while we may disagree on other topics, if we can put
those other differences aside, we can do a lot of good together – on
these subjects and others.
We want every guest to our park to
continue to be inspired to take action to help protect animals and wild
places. We understand that our loyal fans like you might be surprised at
our news, but our core mission and purpose will remain the same – to
bring people and animals together for meaningful experiences that
educate and inspire.
Though some things are changing, so many
things at SeaWorld are not. One of those is our need for your continued
support – like you’ve shown so loyally in the past by signing petitions
and sending letters. We have an exciting future ahead of us and you are
an important part of helping us succeed. Thank you for continuing to
stand with SeaWorld as we work to inspire guests and protect animals and
the wild wonders of our world.