The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum


Should BA stop selling tickets to Seaworld?

Author Topic: Should BA stop selling tickets to Seaworld?  (Read 2544 times)

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
Should BA stop selling tickets to Seaworld?
« on: 28/11/2014 16:24:30 »
British Airways, one of the world’s largest airlines, in terms of passenger/kilometres flown, was recently petitioned by WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation) to cease selling tickets to Seaworld as part of their package deals.

In their response to WDC, Jonathon Counsell, for BA, wrote;
Quote from: Seaworld
SeaWorld has assured us that its animal care
standards exceed this best practice guidance and are governed by US federal and
state laws alongside accreditation standards set by the Association of Zoos and
Aquariums as well as the Association of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.
Further, SeaWorld does not collect cetaceans from the wild and has not done so for
nearly three decades.

Does BA not get it? Seaworld is a member of the Association of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. Effectively, Seaworld have accredited themselves!

But they can’t even justify their own accreditation. Visitors to Seaworld posted a video on You Tube showing a Pilot Whale struggling to get back into the water. Other dolphins attempted to help the Pilot whale and the audience screamed and shouted for someone to help. Eventually, two ‘trainers’ pushed it back into the pool. A Seaworld worker said “This is what they do. This is how they have fun. They're just playing.” Watch video

NO, a whale out of water for several minuets is DROWNING. In Florida’s climate they will also quickly dry, overheat and become sunburnt. In fact, black zinc oxide is used to cover evidence of sunburn on them received due to being in shallow water.

Seaworld San Antonio has been warned by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) for “repeated failure to provide drain covers that are securely fastened in order to minimize the potential risk of animal entrapment”, a violation which resulted in the death of a Sealion.

Two ex-employees of Seaworld (one now a doctor, the other a Professor of Biology) released a report detailing the stress suffered by marine mammals in captivity. Stress which they believe caused an Orca to kill a trainer.

BA should have taken more note of the scientific community than Seaworld, but concluded:
Quote from: BA
On this basis we currently see no reason to end our relationship with the
organisation. (Seaworld) We will continue to offer our customers the option to make their own
decisions on whether to visit SeaWorld.

I hope visitors to the US will take note of this review posted to Tripadvisor:
Quote from: Tripadvisor
Of the attractions we visited - the stingrays were packed into a tiny pool that was dirty, tired, and desperately in need of a clean. There were so many in such a confined space that they had barely any room to move. The dolphin area was a similar story - it was a shame to see these beautiful animals packed in to such a small environment (there was a recent fatality when two dolphins collided at a show) - probably the equivalent of a bathtub to us. There was little emphasis on conservation, preservation, or awareness. We expected the park to house these animals in space and comfort. We are not 'animal activists', but we left questioning the morals of a theme park that keeps wild animals in confined spaces and teaches them to do 'tricks' in the name of profit. We were so disappointed that we asked for - and received - our money back. Please think twice before visiting this unethical place and spending a fortune.

BA might like to consider the opinion of the main attraction, the Orca’s, or Killer Whales as they are often better known. Incidentally, they are not whales, they are dolphins. The name Killer Whale comes from a miss-translation of whale killer, which they were given after being seen to attack and kill young Gray Whales during migration.

An Orca might travel up to 100 miles a day in the wild, yet in captivity they are kept in tiny tanks. They suffer from noise related stress. Something they can’t get away from in front of a screaming, cheering, shouting audience. In the wild Orcas are extremely social animals. Pods may contain 20 or more individuals which work together as a team, yet in captivity, they may turn aggressive toward each other.

Then there is life expectancy, the lifespan of an Orca is estimated at around 80 years, but in captivity 35 years is usually the most. Seaworld’s claims that their Orcas might live longer than wild Orcas is preposterous. Orcas are the oceans’ top predators, so they are not likely to suffer from attacks and it is a fact that captive Orcas are more likely to suffer from stress and illness. This is why their food (frozen fish) is laced with additives.

Another piece of evidence straight from the horse’s mouth, or in this case the whale’s fin, is Flaccid Fin Syndrome. Captive Orca’s usually display a droopy dorsal fin, yet in the wild less than 1% of Orcas suffer this problem. It has been suggested that this may be caused by the Orca not being able to get to depths where collagen in the skin would harden and keep the dorsal fin upright.

As to the park’s ‘education programme’, I for one do not see how teaching cetaceans to do tricks for the delight & delectation of paying audiences can possibly go hand-in-hand with education and let there be no confusion, profit is the aim. As to conservation of these Appendix II CITES listed animals, these amusement parks (for that is what they are) do not make any meaningful contribution what-so-ever. Seaworld’s claim that their work helps to increase the “Knowledge and understanding” of Orca’s is obviously flawed. What can you learn about wild animals from trained captive animals?

Now, what about those 23,000 marine animals Seaworld claim to have rescued and returned to the wild? Well its true to say that. Well, true-ish. Turtles, Manatees and other marine animals have been rescued and released back into the wild, but with no follow-up, their success rate remains completely unknown. But these animals can’t be taught to do tricks, the sealions, whales and dolphins they ‘rescue’ can be kept and used to turn a profit.

As to Seaworld’s financial contribution to conservation, their own annual report for 2011-2012 shows they contributed 0.0001% of their income. This is no more than an appeasement token and a drop in SeaWorld's ocean of $'s.

Come on BA, think again. Perhaps you should watch the film Blackfish. Follow the example of many other organisations which have severed ties with Seaworld.

As to the visitors to marine amusement parks, I suggest you watch this film too and find some other means of amusement.

TNS Members & Guests may vote in this poll. You must vote before you can see the results.
« Last Edit: 28/11/2014 16:27:41 by Don_1 »


Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: Should BA stop selling tickets to Seaworld?
« Reply #1 on: 28/11/2014 20:59:13 »
Sea World is a marine zoo, and perhaps to some extent, a marine circus, and should be treated as such.  It is not particularly different than the London Zoo, or any other zoo for that matter.  No doubt, like many zoos, they are constantly working to improve the environment for the animals.

A whale or dolphin out of water certainly isn't drowning.  Whether it has the strength to breathe would depend on the species and size.  But, I believe many beached whales are able to survive for hours, if not days if kept moist.  Killer whales (dolphins) are effective at hunting along shorelines.  The small pilot whale in the video was likely perfectly safe for the few minutes of the video.

The appropriate response to the beached pilot whale in the video clip was likely to give it a few minutes and wait and see what happens.  I certainly wouldn't encourage anybody to approach a wild animal thrashing about unless it was deemed necessary, whether it is a land animal or sea animal.

Perhaps the people stating that the pilot whale was drowning should go to Sea World to learn the difference between a fish and a dolphin or whale.

A huge effort was made to release Keiko the whale into the wild, costing millions of dollars, and he died only 5 years after being returned to the wild.  Who knows if he would have lived longer had he not ever been captured.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of a marine exhibit is to help stimulate interest in the 71% of the world that is covered by water.  When was the last time you had fish for dinner?  Where did it come from?  The grocery store?
« Last Edit: 28/11/2014 21:02:08 by CliffordK »

Offline Stagification

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Should BA stop selling tickets to Seaworld?
« Reply #2 on: 04/12/2014 22:19:18 »
First post on this forum!

This topic got me thinking about zoos in general.  While entertaining, educational, and among many considered to be a great service to the community and a lifestyle improvement to the animals in captivity, I don't think that outweighs the ethical argument to just let them go.  That is, never capture unless injured, and never breed in captivity. If injured, release when healed.  If permanently injured, where release would be a death sentence, then debate mercy kill versus domestication.

Regarding the educational value of the zoo to the general public: the general public could go on a whale watching expedition, scuba dive, or watch documentaries.  I don't think seeing them in captivity is required for that appreciation.  Zoos tend to be a great place to think and learn, but there is a sad ambiance to them as well.

The people who work at zoos undoubtedly have, from what I've observed, great admiration and respect for the animals in captivity and want to make them as comfortable as possible.  I wish it were possible to dismantle their belief that they are doing good for the animal kingdom, when in fact they are doing good for human entertainment.  Perhaps then there would be no zoos, only educationally funded veterinarians.

A huge effort was made to release newbielink: [nonactive] the whale into the wild, costing millions of dollars, and he died only 5 years after being returned to the wild.  Who knows if he would have lived longer had he not ever been captured.

Would you rather live free and die young, or live in captivity and die old?  Regardless of our answers, certainly animals cannot pro-con this choice for themselves, so let's not make it for them.

Anyway, that's where I'm coming from.  As far as BA pulling Sea World from their rewards: Yes, they should pull them off, and not promote Sea World.

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Should BA stop selling tickets to Seaworld?
« Reply #2 on: 04/12/2014 22:19:18 »


SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums