Turning the tide. After widespread complaints, a SeaWorld executive announced on Monday, Nov. 9, that orca shows at its San Diego location will end by 2017.
“We are listening to our guests, evolving as a company, we are always changing,” said SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby. “In 2017 we will launch an all new orca experience focused on natural environments of whales. 2016 will be the last year of our theatrical killer whale experience in San Diego.”
The news comes just three days after Congressman Adam Schiff, of California, announced that he would introduce the Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act to directly combat SeaWorld.
“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. “The Orca Act ensures that this will be the last generation of orcas who live in captivity.”
The company — which has faced growing protests over the treatment of its animals in recent years — has lost half of its market value in the last two years, according to The Guardian.
Much of this loss came after the July 2013 release of Blackfish, a film that alleged that there was mistreatment of whales at its various parks.
The San Diego Union Tribune reported that the park’s Shamu Stadium would be replaced, offering a new, natural setting that would hold a “conservation message, inspiring people to act.”
“People love companies that have a purpose,” Manby said to investors. “I don’t see why SeaWorld can’t be one of those brands.” He also told investors that instead of using the parks’ whales as entertainment, they would focus on their safety and conservation.
SeaWorld previously dismissed Blackfish, calling it “propaganda” and “emotionally manipulative.”
The animal theme-park chain, which opened in 1964, currently operates three locations in the United States — San Diego, San Antonio, and Orlando.
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