SeaWorld Has Announced That They Are Ending Live Orca Shows

November 10, 2015

SeaWorld San Diego is officially pulling the plug on its theatrical orca show as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the company in the wake of mounting protests over its treatment of animals.

sea world ending orca shows
Credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock

Announced online Monday in a document posted by the company, SeaWorld has said that by the end of 2016, its "theatrical killer whale experience" will be phased out.

Unfortunately, that does not mean an end to orcas in captivity.

Joel Manby, SeaWorld's chief executive, said the company will replace its Shamu show – in which whales dive, jump and splash guests to the demands of their trainers – with "an all new orca experience focused on the natural environment [of the whales]."

The decision follows a series of blows to the organization.

A film called Blackfish, which focuses on the death of a trainer who was dragged into the water and drowned by an aggressive bull whale, exposed the dark truth of the supposedly conservation-centered industry. And six months after a publication demonstrated that orcas in captivity do not live as long as their wild counterparts, the state of California banned the captive breeding of these animals in October of this year.

The backlash has hit the company, and its investors, where it hurts - losing half of its market value since the 2013.

SeaWorld's decision comes just days after congressman Adam Schiff said he would introduce legislation forcing SeaWorld to end the captivity of orcas.

"The evidence is very strong that the psychological and physical harm done to these magnificent animals far outweighs any benefits reaped from their display," Schiff said. "We cannot be responsible stewards of our natural environment and propagate messages about the importance of animal welfare when our behaviors do not reflect our principles."

While this is fantastic news, the fight is certainly not over yet.

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