Sea World is a source of controversy for many animal rights and animal advocacy groups. These groups can often be seen protesting just outside of Sea World’s entrance in San Diego. They protest the use of animals for entertainment and the containment of animals in small pools when they would otherwise have had an entire ocean to swim in. The movie “Blackfish” focused on Sea World on their treatment of killer whales. Blackfish portrayed the whales as being mistreated by trainers and emotionally abused by being restricted from their natural life in the wild. According to the film, this has caused the orcas to lash out at their trainers and caregivers resulting in human casualties.
Recently, Sea World set up a website, www.seaworldcares.com to promote their view on the work that they do. Many people in San Diego are familiar with their work on conservation and animal rescue. Sea world also works with birds, turtles, and other marine life, not just seals, dolphins and orcas. When sea lion pups and brown pelicans were sick earlier this year, Sea World was the one who rescued, cared for, and released them. They also run and fund other wildlife conservation programs in Southern California as well as several education programs. Other organizations often rely on Sea World’s funding to help conserve and protect natural marine habitat.
Today, Sea World posted an ad in several prominent newspapers around the country and in San Diego. The ad referred to an open letter saying the “truth is in our parks and people”. In the letter, it explains that the whales are never taken out of the wild, calves are never separated from their mothers, their work helping wild animals, among other issues. Sea World trainers and animal care workers will often speak of the high amount of care and good treatment of the animals at the park. However, such statements are little comfort to animal advocates who feel that even the best care doesn't mean anything if the killer whales are kept in small tanks, forced to perform, and separated from doing what is natural for them.