SeaWorld: Family Fun or Prison?

K. Meinecke, Entertainment and Tech Editor

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Seaworld is an amazing place that families can visit to have up-close encounters with sea creatures and learn about keeping our oceans clean, or at least that’s what they want you to believe. But, is SeaWorld actually the wonderful place everyone remembers from childhood? There is something much darker going on behind the scenes and sometimes, even before the tourists eyes. However, it has gone unnoticed by many visitors because the corporation disguises these ugly truths behind Shamu stuffed animals and the promise that their animals are perfectly happy in captivity.

Forcing a human to live their entire life inside of a bathtub would seem cruel and miserable. So why do we allow this to happen to the mammals at SeaWorld? There is something extremely unsettling about an orca that weighs eight thousand pounds being forced to live in a small tank for their entire life. One Green Planet reports that killer whales living in the wild “can swim up to 100 miles per day.” It would take an orca in captivity thousands of laps around its tank to reach the normal amount of miles it should be swimming daily.

Fights between the whales can get pretty intense because of all the stress caused by the small enclosures. An interview published by The Dodo explains that the wales are often spotted with “rake marks caused by tank mates teeth.” Despite SeaWorld’s claims that collapsed dorsal fins are completely normal for orcas, it had been proven that this is something that rarely happens in the wild. In the wild, a collapsed dorsal fin is a sign of an unhealthy or injured killer whale.

Another thing that SeaWorld hides from the public is that almost all the mammals die too young. Whether it be from sickness, depression, or a fight with another mammal within the tank, the average lifespan of a mammal at SeaWorld is much shorter than those in the wild. It is extremely unfair that these creatures do not get to live their full lives.

Not only is SeaWorld dangerous for the animals, but they also frequently put the lives of their trainers in jeopardy. Many trainers have been injured working with the mammals. A UME Student, Miriam Graves, thinks that “both the trainers and animals lives are important. It is impossible to contain such wild animals.” Another UME student Sarah Norman says, “I think that the animals should be treated as well as possible based on certain circumstances. Animals are alive just like humans so we should respect and care for them.”