SeaWorld San Diego Orca Encounter

A Note on SeaWorld’s Partnership with the Humane Society of the United States

As supporters of the zoological community ZooNation has given its undivided loyalty and support to zoological organizations that care for animals and contribute to their global conservation. In the past, SeaWorld has been a great leader in the field, and we continue to applaud those efforts, especially those of their animal rescue teams, and we unconditionally support all those hard working individuals who make up the day to day care teams, and those who work behind the scenes to make it all happen. We admire them and will always support these everyday heroes.

With that said, ZooNation does not and cannot condone the recent decision by SeaWorld leadership to partner with an organization that is fundamentally opposed to all zoological efforts and facilities. Even if the HSUS doesn’t take direct action against zoological facilities, they monetarily support organizations that do, therefore we feel SeaWorld leadership has made a fundamental misstep in accepting this partnership with what is, at best, an antipathetic organization.

We also do not agree with the decision to end the orca breeding program. This decision is rife with error and has so many unseen consequences the end of this matter is hard to predict, but we can see many ways it is harmful and not in the best interests of the orca or in the best interests of the zoological community at large. One clear way this is a sad and tragic decision is simply the fact that they are condemning the last few orca who inhabit their parks to eventual lonely extinction, as each cetacean eventually succumbs to old age.

The main issue that has come about is that SeaWorld leadership has accepted the conversation that their orca breeding and human care program is wrong somehow, and that is tragic and untrue. We have supported SeaWorld through all the controversy surrounding their orca human care programs, before, during and after the Blackfish mockumentary, and we feel SeaWorld leadership has lost its way, and fundamentally misunderstands the central issue; human care is no longer about “entertainment” but about education, conservation and saving our oceans from the abuse human beings are subjecting it to.

Again, we support and applaud SeaWorld’s many great efforts they put forth on behalf of animal conservation everywhere, and will continue to support the teams who make this happen. We know and love many of the heroes who do this critical work and will continue to support those people who make a difference, every day of their lives.

– ZooNation Board Members




13 thoughts on “A Note on SeaWorld’s Partnership with the Humane Society of the United States

  1. Corinne

    Just read your statement and I love it. Words cannot express my utter disappointment, frustration, anger, etc at Seaworld for ending their orca breeding program. I just feel this is so wrong for so many reasons. One of which is who are they trying to appease? The animal rights fanatics are NOT the ones going to your park, I am and I love having the opportunity to see the orcas. Seaworld is the ONLY place I have been able to see them. And you know now that they catered and caved to the fanatics the dolphins will be next, then every other animal. At that point I’ll have memories of Seaworld but I will NOT be going to their parks.

    Second and so much worse than ending the breeding program is partnering with H$U$. That organization is pure evil, they lie, they mislead, they are dangerous. I’m torn between wanting to support Seaworld-hoping they change their minds regarding their animals as well as seeing these wonderful creatures for a final time…..or doing what is right when it comes to animal rights fanatics which is NEVER supporting H$U$ and groups like it. So is the better choice boycott Seaworld until they discontinue any relationship with H$U$.

    I will continue to make my opinion known to Seaworld and hope they reverse this awful decision

    #Seaworldkeeptheorcas #Seaworlddon’tsupportH$U$

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  2. Randy Janssen

    Another American corporation bullied into doing something stupid by a bunch of vegans. Next it will be dolphins, then turtles. You can’t give in to animal rights crazies, they just keep pushing for more.

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  3. chienblanc4csi

    This is very sad news indeed. Back in the 1980s I had the great pleasure of working with Candy Lightner, the founder of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Candy’s inspired leadership created an organization that was extraordinarily successful in its mission. But their success created a problem typical of such groups – how to stay relevant and stay alive. Success seemed to go to the head for MADD’s leadership, and the money, well, that was a big factor. MADD morphed from an anti-drunken driving org to an anti-drinking org, scolds and busybodies on a power trip. Ms. Lightner left the organization when it lost sight of its original mission. What does SeaWorld think will happen, now that they have sold out to their most aggressive and nasty critics? What will be next, now that the orcas are out of the picture? Does SW realize that HSUS will not stop with orcas? Their followers are already pushing California lawmakers to get rid of SeaWorld’s pilot whales and dolphins. Those of us in the animal *welfare* movement have a lot more experience with the animal *rights* movement than SeaWorld’s top management . . . sadly, we know what the plan is.

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  4. Nancy Yates

    So since you oppose solitary captive orcas, what is your organization doing to change the plight of Lolita, the orca who has been kept alone at Miami Seaquarium for so many years?

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  5. Sandy Lender

    Moral of the story: the bully will win in the end.
    I don’t like that.
    When HSUS succeeds in closing down human care of ocean animals, how will we engender in our children/grandchildren the desire to clean the oceans for the sake of the animals that remain there? How do we teach the next generation that bullying a species into extinction is wrong when we cared so little as to stand together against the propaganda machine of the HSUS? I’m stunned and disappointed…

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  6. Laurella Desborough

    I am shocked, disgusted and dismayed at the decision of the CEO of SeaWorld to “partner” with HSUS. Since when is it a wise decision to partner with entities that are out to destroy man’s relationship with animals? Just because the animal rights fanatics and their cult followers are so loud and at the same time so ignorant about appropriate marine animal husbandry, does not mean that the majority of the public supportsd their anti-orca position. Those members of the public who are knowledgeable about the HSUS and their goals are VERY unhappy with this decision. It goes against all conservation research, it goes against the need for working with marine animals to learn more about them, and it goes against the value of providing the public with a close up experience of the orcas. It is simply not a wise decision, not for the orcas, not for the public and not for SeaWorld.

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  7. Lance

    As a member of the Seaworld team, I wholeheartedly understand the frustrations and sense of loss this news brings. We have had so much amazing support from animal people like all of you throughout these difficult times, and that’s given many of us hope… however, hope does not always translate into success. As a company, we have been failing. At the rate we’ve been going, all of us will soon be unemployeed and the majestic animals under our care will all be forced to find new homes, which certainly won’t be possible for all of them. That may sound extreme, but it’s the cold hard truth I’ve seen firsthand. I know everyone thinks that we can weather this storm together forever, but the painful bottom line is we can’t. Something had to change. I think the end of the breeding made the most sense, as eventually an SSP with 29 animals will breed itself out of existance. The change up of the shows is also a welcome return to our educational roots. The HSUS ‘partnership’ is what took us all by surprise and hit us the hardest. However, despite the vulgarity we all feel over it, I think Joel may be on to something. If he could convince one of our largest critics to agree to a 180 on our company and convince them of the good Zoos and Aquariums can do, he could blunt some of the relentless waves of attacks that have literally been bankrupting us. The real question that remains to be seen is if we truly become financially entangled with them as he has implied, or if more likely the plan to ‘work together’ simply means we both will turn our efforts towards the goals we laid out together. This to me seems the most plausible scenario- we gain from having a major activist organization agree to reverse their negative rhetoric of us while getting them to back off Seaworld (and also the breeding plans of other zoos and aquariums we hear), while they get to crow about how they ‘changed’ Seaworld for the better. Yes, we all know the truth about HSUS, but if this scenario is what unfolds then it’s a hollow victory for them. We right our ship, continue our good work, and get them to back off at least long enough for all of us to be better prepared for ‘BlackElepahnt’ or whatever the heck comes next. Joel is visiting the parks to meet with team members to explain what’s happening over the comming few days, so as hard as it is for me currently I’m going to try and reserve my judgement until then. I hope his visits bring greater clarity to this issue and we communicate it appropriately to all of you, our biggest fans and best supporters. I know that to many of us a great battle was lost, but we need to remember that it was not the whole war, and I hope that we can all continue to overcome adversity and ignorance together.

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  8. Geneva Coats

    Seriously, Lance, Sea World thinks that HSUS and other fanatic groups will back off with this stupid decision to allow their orcas to die off? And they think business will pick up? FAT CHANCE. Animal wrongists are already yammering about the other cetaceans, And those of a who have been fighting Humaniacs for years will NEVER patronize your company again in any way. Lose-lose.

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    1. Geneva Coats

      The cowards at Sea World and Ringling Brothers think these decisions will buy them peace from the radical progressives in the animal rights industry. That shows how little they understand progressives.

      Today elephants. Tomorrow horses and tigers. PETA wants a circus without animal performers. They won’t stop agitating just because they’ve eliminated elephants and whales. The dancing dogs are next.

      Did the cowards advising these companies tell the decision-makers that? Do the cowards even understand? The animal rights radicals will keep pressing because the fight is about bigger philosophical issues than animals and whales. It’s also about fundraising, a need that never abates in the leftist non-profit industry.

      https://pjmedia.com/jchristianadams/2016/03/18/sea-world-and-ringling-brothers-cave-to-animal-rights-radicals/

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      1. Lance

        I’m deeply saddened by the language of the article you posted… I’d expect such vitriol from an animal rights organization, but never from one in favor of animal welfare. I can understand their anger though Geneva, and yours as well. Remember- I WORK for Seaworld. These decisions affect those of us who have dedicated our very lives to this organization just as much as they affect yours. Please do not forget that. It’s difficult to truly understand the challenges we’ve faced as a company without having to watch budgets be slashed, positions to be cut, and close friends lose their jobs all around you as you stand helpless in the midst of it all. Something had to change, or all the good we’ve done and will -continue- to do would fade into obscurity. I’m sorry that you view our actions as those of cowardice, and I’m also sorry that you and your friends will not be visiting us anymore. But I’m still proud to work for Seaworld and will continue to work to inspire the next generation of animal lovers to be just as passionate as you are.

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        1. jan

          not your actions Lance.. never yours.. you are fodder sorry to say that but you are expendable to the HSUS and now to your executives. Cuts will be made . The have to be. Why will you need trainers if there is nothing to train. Yes the animals under your care will need to be fed and vetted but why else will they need any human interaction? HSUS is an organization that is already making rumblings about the dolphin show as next on the chopping block. They will create another crisis because that is what they do best.. create a crisis.. say it over again . There was no crisis for the Ringling elephants. They were some of the best cared fort animals on earth. Your marine mammals are the same. They were FINE but without a crisis HSUS makes no money. You have been thrown to the wolves.. yes wolves. I hope you can run very very fast.

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