Singer Pink is one to put her money where her mouth is. Case in point, her latest appeal to Sea World. Sea World has been criticized for their treatment of captive sea life, specifically their orcas. This was famously exposed in the documentary Black Fish. After the death of several orcas and some of the orca trainers, Sea World finally agreed in 2016 to stop breeding orcas. It was a step in the right direction, if only a small one. However, several celebrities, like Jessica Biel, Pamela Anderson and Gillian Anderson, have asked, on behalf of PETA, for Sea World to do more. Most recently, Pink, on behalf of PETA, wrote an appeal to the Sea World Board of Directors to release all their sea life to sanctuaries so they may live out their days with a better quality of life.
Hello. My name is Pink, and I have a question to ask on behalf of PETA. As a mother, I would never take my kids anywhere that keeps intelligent, sensitive beings in intensive confinement. Children are impressionable, and the last thing I would want to teach my kids is that “might makes right” or that it’s OK to bully and exploit someone just because they look different from us. But that’s exactly what SeaWorld does by locking up animals who, in their ocean homes, would swim up to 140 miles a day, dive to great depths, cooperate with their pods to find food, communicate in their own dialects, and transmit their own culture from generation to generation. At SeaWorld, all these animals are able to do is swim in endless circles. Some are so frustrated that they break their teeth by gnawing on the concrete corners and metal bars of their tiny tanks.
But you have a chance to change all that – and do right by orcas and other animals – by sending them to sanctuaries, where they can live a more natural life and receive care for as long as they need it, as well as by making future locations, including your planned park in Hainan Island, China, virtual reality centers without any live animals. People could then feel good about taking their families to your parks. So my question is this: When will SeaWorld transfer its orcas and other marine mammals to seaside sanctuaries to save them – and itself?
You can read CEO John Reilly’s response, as well as PETA’s president, Ingrid Newkirk’s rebuttal to him, here. In short, Reilly claims the best place for the animals is where they are because they have only ever known that environment and that, “No whales born into human care have ever survived being released into a sea cage or into the wild.” He then goes on to say that it was attempted prior and due to the unfortunate outcome, they concluded the risks were too great. Most of the discussion on this particular theory centers around the release of Keiko, the orca who starred in the movie Free Willy, who was eventually rehabilitated and released back into the wild. Keiko died sooner than expected upon his release, but many argue he may not have been the best test case given the poor conditions in which he had been held captive.
Pink has a public platform and she’s using it for something important to her. Many parents become increasingly aware of the messages they send their kids with the choices they make and how they spend their money so I’m fine with her framing her plea in this way. Sea World isn’t this only organization that uses sea life as entertainment, of course, but they are probably the best well known. So it’s not a bad tactic to ask them to lead by example.
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