SeaWorld has announced it will end orca shows at its theme park in San Diego.
They say the decision was made based on customer feedback.
“We are listening to our guests, evolving as a company, we are always changing,” said chief executive Joel Manby. “In 2017 we will launch an all new orca experience focused on natural environment [of whales]. 2016 will be the last year of our theatrical killer whale experience in San Diego.”
The company has lost half of its market value since the 2013 release of Blackfish, a film cataloguing alleged mistreatment of killer whales at its parks.
Former Seaworld trainer remains skeptical
Jeffrey Ventre is a medical doctor, a former SeaWorld trainer, and an activist standing against orca captivity. He worked at SeaWorld from 1987-1995, and has seven years of experience training dolphins and whales.
After achieving the title of “Senior Trainer,” Jeffrey Ventre was fired from SeaWorld for kissing a whale’s tongue, breaking their tongue tactile protocol.
“It’s something people are talking about in popular culture. Its in the mainstream now, and that’s why we’re talking about it today.”
Ventre says he’s happy that they’re doing something, but says he doesn’t hear a lot of substance, and it’s a superficial gesture.
“What are they going to do with the whales?…The fact that that they’re…still having killer whales swimming in a pool really doesn’t do a lot from the whales perspective.”