The 2013 documentary "Blackfish" took SeaWorld to task for keeping killer whales in captivity — which the film argued is highly detrimental to the creatures' mental health.

An orca show at SeaWorld Orlando. Photo by David Bjorgen/Wikimedia Commons.


Since then, SeaWorld has come under major fire — from animal welfare organizations, celebrities, and lots of people in between.

Harry Styles of One Direction publicly criticized SeaWorld back in September. Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images.

The economic consequences to the company have been enormous. The company's profits dropped 84% between the second quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2015.

Today, the company finally decided to take action to try to quell the criticism.

As reported by Lori Weisberg in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

"SeaWorld intends to phase out its longstanding killer whale show at its San Diego park next year as part of a comprehensive strategy unveiled Monday to re-position the embattled company amid persistent criticisms of how it treats its orcas."

While ending shows at one park won't (and shouldn't) stop people from criticizing SeaWorld, it's a welcome first step.

Ending the shows could help make life much safer for SeaWorld's trainers, many of whom have been injured or killed in orca attacks, which some argue are triggered by the stress of confinement.

SeaWorld still has a long way to go, however.

Photo by Gordon2448/Wikimedia Commons.

Ending the shows doesn't address the underlying issue — that keeping orcas in captivity puts the animals under an enormous amount of mental and emotional stress.

California Representative Adam Burbank plans to introduce a bill that would ban breeding orcas in captivity and would make capturing them in the wild illegal.

But starting to phase out the shows means SeaWorld is listening.

Credit is due to the dozens of people who held the company's feet to the fire and the thousands who voted with their feet — and their dollars.

Hopefully there's a lot more change on the horizon.

Update: Keep your excitement on hold for now. Slate reports there will still be orca shows at SeaWorld, but they'll be ... "natural" or something. Let's hope the new shows represent an actual improvement for the animals and their trainers, rather than just a cosmetic one.

via Jody Danielle Fisher / Facebook

Breast milk is an incredibly magical food. The wonderful thing is that it's produced by a collaboration between mother and baby.

British mother Jody Danielle Fisher shared the miracle of this collaboration on Facebook recently after having her 13-month-old child vaccinated.

In the post, she compared the color of her breast milk before and after the vaccination, to show how a baby's reaction to the vaccine has a direct effect on her mother's milk production.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less

Believe it or not, there has been a lot of controversy lately about how people cook rice. According to CNN, the "outrage" was a reaction to a clip Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng posted as one of his personas known as Uncle Roger.

It was a hilarious (and harmless) satire about the method chef Hersha Patel used to cook rice on the show BBC Food.


Keep Reading Show less