Seaworld to pay $5 million to settle federal accusations

By Alexandria Zickefoose 

Think of your favorite animal.

Anything, whether it be a dog, cat or even a horse, you name it. Obviously, you care about that animal, right? I mean, you wouldn’t abuse it or let anyone else even lay a hand on it, right?  So why would you support a place that does abuse animals?

SeaWorld is a very large marine-life attraction located in various parts of the United States. The popular park has many different activities for park-goers to enjoy like boat shows, orca whale shows and dolphin shows. Sure, while you’re there, and while you’re watching the shows, it seems like it could be a pretty enjoyable experience. But when you actually sit down and think about it, it’s terrible.

SeaWorld has been accused of animal abuse and mistreatment for a long time, but it wasn’t until the “Blackfish” documentary came out in 2013 that SeaWorld would be affected. “Blackfish” is a documentary about a killer whale named Tilikum. Tilikum was captured off the coast of Iceland in 1983 and was used for entertainment purposes since then.

The film tells that during Tilikum’s capture, she was very aggressive, in which researchers attributed to her strong desire to be free and away from captivation. The film also educates on the death of Tilikum’s personal trainer, Dawn Brancheau.  On Feb. 24, 2010, Brancheau was performing a Dine with Shamu show with Tilikum. This show took place poolside of an “open-air” restaurant that allowed guests to enjoy a pleasant dinner while watching the show.

That was anything but what they got.

In the midst of the show, while Brancheau was sitting by the orca and petting him, Tilikum pulled on the trainer’s ponytail, pulling her into the water and subsequently drowning her. It was a very tragic event, and as sad as it is, it started a great load of controversy.

“Blackfish” goes on to argue that the only reason Tilikum reacted in an aggressive manner towards his trainer was because he had sustained constant abuse and harassment during his time at Seaworld. Seaworld obviously denied these claims and said that Blackfish is, “inaccurate and misleading and regrettably, exploits a tragedy… The film paints a distorted picture that withholds key facts about SeaWorld… SeaWorld rescues, rehabilitates and returns to the wild hundreds of wild animals every year…”

The film caused many to rethink their decision about going to SeaWorld and giving any money to their despicable practice. And, they might actually be paying for what they did.

In September 2018, SeaWorld and former CEOs of the company have agreed to pay $5 million to resolve federal accusations that they failed to repair the damage caused by the “Blackfish” documentary. So, this is great, right? SeaWorld is going to have to pay for what they’ve done to the orca whales and other marine life. But what else can be done?

This place needs to be shut down so that nothing else can happen to these animals or people. Too many negative things have happened at the park to keep it open. Researchers have proven that orcas who live free lives in the wild live about 20 years longer than orcas captured by SeaWorld. Additionally, in Orlando SeaWorld, approximately 41 orca whales have died due to poor maintenance. By going to SeaWorld, we keep giving these crooks money to keep their business open and torture more animals, just like Tilikum. We can stop this. We can boycott this.

Five million dollars is not enough.