By Barb Dunsmore / Special from the OB Rag
When it comes to impassioned feelings about SeaWorld, most readers of the OB Rag are well aware that much has recently been written, discussed, filmed, and documented. The world began to take notice with the release of Gabriella Cowperthwaite’s documentary Blackfish. It started with ripples of awareness that have now become waves of deep concern. The worldwide anger the movie unleashed is nearly impossible to ignore.
While SeaWorld was celebrating their 50th anniversary last Friday [March 21], everyday citizens, myself included, were standing on Sea World Drive protesting 50 years of inhumane captivity, drawing attention to what we, and a growing number of people around the world see as a new vision for SeaWorld: the recently proposed California Captive Orca Welfare and Safety Act – AB 2140. A new vision that could be a win-win for the orcas and SeaWorld alike, where the orcas would finally be free from the confines and cruel control inflicted upon them daily.
Who are we that protest you ask?
We are a growing group of passionate believers in the equality of humans and non-humans to live in this world without cruelty or enslavement or captivity of any kind. We want our children to revere all animals and not see them as something here for our entertainment, but rather have an undying respect and appreciation for them.
We are professional doctors, lawyers, small business owners, students, teachers, writers, artists, parents, environmentalists from all walks of life. We come from a place of integrity and a united desire to see animals treated just the way we all wish to be treated. What a concept!
We want to encourage the efforts of Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D), Santa Monica, to pass Assembly Bill 2140—California Captive Orca Welfare and Safety Act and hope you will join us in this effort. (More on that below.)
We don’t want SeaWorld to shut its doors
We do not want Sea World to shut its doors; nor do we believe the passage of AB 2140 would result in the closing of SeaWorld or be a huge revenue loss for the City of San Diego. Rather, quite the opposite. SeaWorld doesn’t need to close to operate more humanely – it just needs to change its business model.
Today’s most popular attractions involve everything from visual, interactive, digitized features that both entertain as well as educate the public. Now with gigantic animatronics and life-size animation facets, we are brought into worlds of everything from distant planets, under-the-sea life, exotic and ever-so-realistic monsters, dinosaurs, sharks, etc. The possibilities are limitless. SeaWorld could very well be as globally exciting as Disneyland, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Universal Studios, and so many other huge entertainment venues that do not involve captive, performing animals.
The reality is that Sea World is not the happy-go-lucky world it appears to be. There is something rotten festering beneath the waters. The orcas–captive, inbred, kidnapped from their pods, mothers and babies torn away from each other in agony, isolated in solitary confinement and suffering from everything from physical diseases to mental trauma—these are the “performers” captured for entertainment solely for the commercial coffers of Sea World.
We can no longer applaud the tragedy we now know exists behind the scenes. There needs to be a new and more compassionate Sea World—a beautiful new perspective that will change not only the lives of what we call the ‘San Diego 10,’ but generations of other marine mammals imprisoned in the name of “family entertainment.”
Meet the ‘San Diego 10’
Meet the ‘San Diego 10’:
- Corky II, captive 45 yrs.;
- Kasatka, captive 36 yrs.:
- Ulises captive 34 yrs. – all three wild caught, kidnapped from their mothers, their pods. Then there is
- and Orkid,– all captive bred held prisoner from 13 months to 21 yrs., respectively. – See here
SeaWorld, you have made millions, if not billions off the capture, breeding and confinement of these massive, beautiful, intelligent orcas for decades. Don’t you think it’s time you give something back to them? Use your billions to invest in and release the ‘San Diego 10’ to seaside sanctuaries, if not the wild. It’s time for a moral, ethical and compassionate change, Sea World. The world is watching…Empty the Tanks.
The students of Pt. Loma High School have a message for you SeaWorld.
Here is what you can do right now. Call and/or write to:
1. Your own Assemblymember. (Find here / )
2. The Assemblymembers on the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. (Find here )
• AB 2140 must be approved by Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee FIRST in order for it to move forward. Hearing date has not yet been set but we are hopeful it will be sometime in April.
3. The Assemblymembers on the Appropriations Committee (once the bill has been referred to this committee, we will put the word out, no need to call them yet).
Contact info for this committee may be found here
If your Assemblymember sits on one of the committees in which the bill will be heard, make sure you say it will be heard in the committee when communicating your support. Supporters should write to their Assemblymember, as well as the Chair and Vice-Chair of the committee in which the bill will be heard next (at present, that would be Assemblymembers Rendon and Bigelow).
Messages should be polite, concise and to-the-point: A simple “I Support AB 2140” sponsored by Assemblymember Bloom, will suffice.
And lastly, please sign this Petition to the State of California joining over 1,131,000 others who support the passage of AB 2140 –
“The greatest kindness to be achieved here would be to end breeding and prevent any new captures from being brought in, so the whole concept just fades away. That way the bad idea of cetacean captivity that is and always has been can be put behind us.” ~ Kaarina Makowski.
SeaWorld’s 50th Anniversary Protest
Note: Very recently “a bill that would ban keeping orca whales in captivity in New York passed in the state’s Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation, meaning that it is one step closer to being signed into law.”