OK I am now officially bored of the ongoing farcical battle between activists and SeaWorld.
In the Blue Corner: SeaWorld
In the Red Corner: Campaigners
Referee: Not Present
OK, so even ‘the replacement acts’ are dropping out of SeaWorld’s once popular Bands Brew and BBQ series. Screamscape announced this week that Trace Adkins, has dropped away from this year’s schedules appearance on March 2nd, with his rep citing “Trace prefers that the focus of his performances be on music, not on controversy,”
Considering that the Country singer’s dates had never been officially announced, I can’t help think that the singer has gained some valuable publicity by leaving a show that he was never publicly in.
The Blackfish Movie released in October of 2013, has certainly hit SeaWorld’s Bands Brew and BBQ event, but further reports this week indicate that gate attendances have soared to all time record levels of revenue this year.
With so little information available right now, it is impossible to say precisely why SeaWorld are doing so well, but that old Phineas T. Barnum saying of ‘no such thing as bad publicity’ kind of springs to mind. Ironic that a circus owner and showman’s phrase might still be so relevant, in a fiercely aggressive digital age.
Perhaps the prospect of the Shamu Stadium in mothballs has spurred interest in SeaWorld? Perhaps guests aren’t as shocked as the Blackfish documentary’s producer; Gabriela Cowperthwaite might have hoped.
I have every respect for documentary producers. Also for animal rights campaigners.
Both do an important job that keeps society and politicians in check and their efforts raise awareness of issues that often get ignored.
The problem with the argument against SeaWorld, is that everyone knows that the animals should really be in the oceans. As I watch them perform, I have always been in awe, tinged with guilt. Much in the same way that I talk adoringly to my now teenage daughter’s ageing pet rabbit (that I fiercely objected to buying over 10 years ago).
As its custodian, I love the furry rodent, but desperately feel responsible for its current state.
‘Polly’ is a great, if somewhat surprising comparison to Tilikum and his colleagues.
Rabbits are easy to find in pet stores, aren’t endangered and don’t weigh 12,000 pounds but both are of course confined to unnaturally tiny spaces.
We need to raise awareness of the world’s ecological crisis.
Just as much as we would never buy another pet rabbit, and neither would our kids buy their children one, we as a family have evolved through the experiences of our miserable little Polly.
Shamu and SeaWorld we guess, have done the same we hope.
SeaWorld are very unlikely to return to the Ocean again to capture another wild Orca.
That, I feel is progress.
There is a more important point to SeaWorld’s creatures though.
Of the 5,202,000 visitors that poured into Orlando’s Ocean based theme park during 2012, it is very likely that a fair portion took a little extra care with the environment as a sign of understanding and respect for Shamu. It is very likely that Tilikum’s ironic existence is saving hundreds of thousands of land and sea creatures around the world.
My theory is genuine. I’m not connected to SeaWorld one single bit, other than the fact that I love being there, but I sincerely feel that there is a positive side to captivity if it is managed well and for the right reasons.
I personally believe that SeaWorld will positively change a little over the coming year, and that Shamu will continue to be a big, if perhaps unexpected ambassador to the Ecosystems that mankind seems so hell bent on harming.
Whether we like Blackfish or not, whether we believe in the SeaWorld PR, or lose faith in the objectivity of those that speak for or against SeaWorld, the show must go on.
(If anything for the good of those amazing creatures that still remain free!)
One person that sadly would offer a far more balanced insight is no longer able to share her thoughts. Dawn Brancheau.