SeaWorld continues to be the dominant whale captivity circus park propping up the international captivity industry. Movies such as The Cove and Blackfish have pulled back the veil on the cruelty and dangers to dolphins and whales of lives in concrete tanks. However, throughout the world, dolphins, orcas and beluga whales have become more and more popular in aquariums and even swim-with-dolphins tourist programs even though science is showing us that captivity in small tanks is detrimental for these highly social, intelligent, and wide-ranging animals. They simply do not belong in captivity.
We have worked for more than thirty years in opposition to captive dolphin facilities. We have helped close or prevent the construction of dozens of dolphinariums around the world. We continue to fight against existing dolphinariums and new proposals, seeking legislation and government policies to end captivity, and educating the public about the harm to these marine species caused by captivity. We work closely with grassroots groups in other countries, such as India, which has banned captive dolphins. We are part of a lawsuit against SeaWorld’s false advertising and unfair business practices to require that industry to tell the truth about orcas in captivity. And we are in litigation against allowing the import to the US of 18 beluga whales caught in the wild in Russia. We succeeded in shutting down the capture of live dolphins for export from the Solomon Islands.
While in the US and Europe many dolphinariums have closed and few new ones are being proposed, many new ones are being built in Japan, China, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. We need to keep the pressure on to end captivity for dolphins and whales.
Mark J. Palmer, February 2017
Tilikum, the large male captive orca at SeaWorld Orlando who was implicated in the deaths of two orca trainers and one interloper, died on January 6th from “bacterial pneumonia”, according to a short statement by SeaWorld issued on Friday, Feb. 3rd. Bad news is often released by industries and politicians on Fridays to avoid showing up in headlines during the week when people are more likely to read it.
The life of Tilikum, as depicted in the documentary Blackfish, was a series of stressful and inexcusable abuse. He suffered from a number of problems, notably an ongoing chronic infection that SeaWorld says was incurable and broken teeth, which required daily flushing to prevent decay and further infections in his mouth.
Mark J. Palmer, February 2017
In the potentially precedent setting lawsuit “Anderson v SeaWorld”, federal Judge Jeffrey White has ruled against SeaWorld’s third attempt to have major portions of the consumer lawsuit dismissed, allowing the case to go forward to the discovery phase and trial.
The case challenges SeaWorld’s so-called “facts” about their orcas in captivity, contending that SeaWorld’s advertising and online statements about the welfare of captive orcas violate consumer protection and fair business practices laws. For example, one of the plaintiffs claims she was misled by SeaWorld trainers who told falsehoods including that captivity in general does not harm orcas.
Tell the International Marine Mammal Trainers Association (IMATA) to stop supporting dolphin hunts and to phase out cetacean captivity.Sign Here >
Learn about our efforts to establish the first seaside retirement facility for captive dolphins and whales.Read More >
The captive dolphin and whale industry has been around for nearly 80 years. Here's a look at the direction it is headed.Read More >