SeaWorld Cancels Inhumane Killer Whale Show, Announces New Killer Whale Show About "Conservation"

Illustration for article titled SeaWorld Cancels Inhumane Killer Whale Show, Announces New Killer Whale Show About Conservation

So there’s good SeaWorld news and bad SeaWorld news. The good SeaWorld news is that, after decades of criticism, the park will phase out its infamous Shamu show next year. The bad SeaWorld news is that the killer whales will just star in a new show.

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Okay so there’s actually a little bit more bad news. SeaWorld executives announcing the programming change on Monday, but it looks like it will only affect the San Diego park for now. The new orca show will debut there in 2017, after the whales’ habitat gets a facelift and an enlargement. SeaWorld says the new habitat will be more natural and the new show will be “informative” with a “conservation message inspiring people to act.” Isn’t that nice?

Well, it’s not as nice as actually freeing the fucking whales. SeaWorld’s PR play comes just a few days after Adam Schiff, a southern California congressman, announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban all public displays of orcas. This is just the latest outrage, too. The 2013 documentary Blackfish alerted millions to the poor treatment and sometimes deadly dangers of SeaWorld’s imprisoning orcas for the sake of entertainment. The movie came out a whopping 20 years after Free Willy. So this is not a new battle.

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Sure, it is kind of encouraging that SeaWorld is doing something. It’s just a damn shame that it feels like an empty gesture dreamed up by a public relations executive to win misleading headlines like this one. Don’t take the bait, though. SeaWorld still sucks.

[San Diego Union-Tribune]

Image via AP


Contact the author at adam@gizmodo.com.
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DISCUSSION

So there’s good SeaWorld news and bad SeaWorld news. The good SeaWorld news is that, after decades of criticism, the park will phase out its infamous Shamu show next year. The bad SeaWorld news is that the killer whales will just star in a new show.

Out of curiosity, if the new “show” ends up just being mostly a presentation-based show rather than a performance-based show, will anti-SeaWorld activists expand their protests to zoos and aquariums, too?

I frankly haven’t been to SeaWorld since I was a kid, but I know people who actually care for exotic animals (i.e. they work in rescues and shelters for exotic animals), and they are not happy with how SeaWorld has been demonized by a sensationalist filmmaker who even managed to upset the people whose cause he supposedly wanted to advocate.