In the wake of the storm of negative publicity SeaWorld has been facing since the release of the documentary Blackfish, the company has tried various tactics to repair their image and salvage their bottom lines. The most recent attempt at winning back public favor was the Blue World project, a $100 million endeavor that would see an admittedly slight enlargement of the orca tanks at the San Diego facility.
Sonar was one of many organizations that signed onto a letter by the Animal Legal Defense Fund in opposition of the project. You can view a copy of the letter here.
During the California Coastal Commission hearing on October 8, people both for and against the project made presentations to the commission. No one was certain what the commission would decide.
Ultimately, the project was given a permit – but with the conditions that there be no further breeding of orcas, and serious limits on the transfer of orcas into or out of the park.
Publicly, SeaWorld claimed that the Blue World project was designed to give more space to the existing orcas. But it later came to light that SeaWorld’s real aim was to breed orcas so it could sell them to facilities all over the world.
It remains to be seen whether the project will go ahead. It is likely that SeaWorld will appeal the decision. What appears to be certain is that people are rejecting captivity for orca whales – as they should.
Photo credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times