A drug scandal and a massive drop in popularity. Sounds like an episode of E!News right? Rather, it's the latest reports to come out about SeaWorld (in the US).
Leaked documents reveal that SeaWorld trainers give psychoactive drugs to some of their marine animals. The drug – benzodiazepine – is the same stuff used in common human medications Valium and Xanax – to treat anxiety. I don't know about you, but I'm not surprised that animals at SeaWorld might be suffering from mental health issues. I'd be pretty miserable if I had to live my whole life in a bath tub. Keeping highly social and active animals like orcas in small tanks is just cruel.
But on a positive note, looks like people might be having second thoughts about visiting marine parks. SeaWorld has reported a 13% drop in attendance for the first three months of 2014 – almost half a million less people than during the same period in 2013.
And keeping the good news keeps rolling, a CNN poll found that 86% of people said that they wouldn't go to SeaWorld after learning about the cruelty of keeping whales in captivity. The story of Tilikum, a captive orca living at SeaWorld in Orlando, has touched countless people through the documentary 'Blackfish'. Although SeaWorld denies that the documentary is having any impact, the recent drop in visitors tells a different story.
You can make a difference for animals in marine parks simply by not attending them. Besides, there are plenty of ways to get close to animals without having to lock them up for their whole lives. Click here to watch an amazing encounter with a mother and baby whale in their natural habitat.