Stars Celebrate as SeaWorld Shuts Down Orca Shows
Stars like Steve-O and Marisa Miller are celebrating after learning SeaWorld bosses are planning to scrap their orca attraction. The aquatic theme park has been under fire ever since the release of director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s hard-hitting 2013 film Blackfish, which detailed the captive whales’ awful living conditions at SeaWorld locations.
A host of celebrities took aim at park bosses and many music stars scrapped concerts planned for SeaWorld to protest the treatment of orcas, as seen in the documentary. Meanwhile, Jackass star Steve-O was arrested for staging stunts, including defacing a freeway SeaWorld sign, and model Miller bared all for a poster as part of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ SeaWorldOfHurt campaign aimed at the tourist attraction. Now it seems the backlash has forced SeaWorld bosses to rethink their brand, and it appears the killer whales currently in SeaWorld’s care will be the last generation of the mammals enclosed at the water parks, according to an announcement on the company’s website. It reads: “Society is changing and we’re changing with it.” SeaWorld bosses will turn their attention to “new, inspiring, natural orca encounters,” according to company CEO Joel Manby. The orca shows will end at SeaWorld in San Diego, California in 2017, while the San Antonio, Texas and Orlando, Florida parks will end the shows by 2019. “Today marks a bold and impactful shift for our company,” Manby said. “The killer whale issue is a growing reason why many people don’t visit SeaWorld and this is about doing the best thing for our orcas, our guests, our ambassadors and our company.” According to company publicists, SeaWorld has not collected any orcas from the wild in more than 40 years. Their existing whales, including a pregnant orca named Takara, will “continue to receive the highest-quality care based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science, and zoological best practices.”
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