SeaWorld’s ban on orca shows should be just the start of changes…

SeaWorld to phase out killer whale show

An orca whale performs during the One Ocean show at SeaWorld San Diego on Oct. 9, in San Diego. (K.C. Alfred / Tribune News Service

“Times have changed for SeaWorld. If that wasn’t obvious before, it became absolutely clear Monday when officials at the company announced that their controversial orca shows would be phased out at the San Diego park — implicitly acknowledging that the shows are a relic of outdated attitudes toward marine mammals.

If SeaWorld is going to continue to house killer whales for a while — a reasonable conclusion because its existing whales would have little chance of surviving in the wild — it makes sense to create a more natural setting for them, as the company plans to do, and make the exhibit more like an educational aquarium than a marine circus.

But that should be just the start. The company’s welcome announcement leaves many important issues unaddressed. Will SeaWorld continue to breed its killer whales, counting on them to bring in attendance in their new, more natural setting? That would be an improvement over shows that call on the animals to engage in human-designed tricks in sterile-looking tanks rather than leaving them to their natural behaviors. But a life in small quarters is not appropriate for whales that travel such long distances in the wild. And a continued breeding program would ensure that the captivity doesn’t end.”

Los Angeles Times

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