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.
<h2>Since then, SeaWorld has come under major fire — from <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/captive_marine/death-at-seaworld.html" target="_blank">animal welfare organizations</a>, <a href="http://www.upworthy.com/in-just-4-words-harry-styles-undid-seaworlds-expensive-dishonest-pr-campaign" target="_blank">celebrities</a>, and lots of people in between.</h2><p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTUxMTAyMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjkwODk5NH0.lGJ2B9XQWllz7RRQ9Jb6k45Nwsq-TbnmNZyOiItn_YA/img.jpg?width=980" id="5bfaa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6f2d97001ac27b00ca354f461b7e5c72" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"></p><p class="image-caption">Harry Styles of One Direction publicly criticized SeaWorld <a href="http://www.upworthy.com/in-just-4-words-harry-styles-undid-seaworlds-expensive-dishonest-pr-campaign" target="_blank">back in September</a>. Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images. </p><p>The economic consequences to the company have been enormous. The company's <a href="http://time.com/3987998/seaworlds-profits-drop-84-after-blackfish-documentary/" target="_blank">profits dropped 84%</a> between the second quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2015. </p><h2>Today, the company finally decided to take action to try to quell the criticism. </h2><p>As reported by <a href="http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/nov/09/seaworld-san-diego-phase-out-killer-whale-show/" target="_blank">Lori Weisberg in the San Diego Union-Tribune</a>:</p><blockquote>"<strong>SeaWorld intends to phase out its longstanding killer whale show at its San Diego park next year</strong> as part of a comprehensive strategy unveiled Monday to re-position the embattled company amid persistent criticisms of how it treats its orcas."</blockquote><h2>While ending shows at one park won't (and shouldn't) stop people from criticizing SeaWorld, it's a welcome first step. </h2><p>Ending the shows could help make life much safer for SeaWorld's trainers, many of whom have been <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whale_attacks_on_humans" target="_blank">injured or killed</a> in orca attacks, which some argue are <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130803-blackfish-orca-killer-whale-keiko-tilikum-sea-world/" target="_blank">triggered by the stress of confinement</a>. </p><h2>SeaWorld still has a long way to go, however. </h2><p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTUxMTAyMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTk1ODcwMX0.3Os-e1N9RWSnXFxT38k48JN3aRnpcG1DV8kv1PBoBr0/img.jpg?width=980" id="b442c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1e260e76dc657998fd61a77e235893eb" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"></p><p class="image-caption">Photo by <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Katina_and_Makaio_Orca.jpg" target="_blank">Gordon2448/Wikimedia Commons</a>. </p><p>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. </p><p>California Representative Adam Burbank <a href="http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/nov/06/seaworld-bill-ban-breeding-killer-whale/" target="_blank">plans to introduce a bill</a> that would ban breeding orcas in captivity and would make capturing them in the wild illegal. </p><h2>But starting to phase out the shows means SeaWorld is listening. </h2><p>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. </p><p>Hopefully there's a lot more change on the horizon. </p><p><b>Update:</b> Keep your excitement on hold for now. Slate reports there will still be <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/11/09/seaworld_isn_t_really_ending_its_killer_whale_show.html" target="_blank">orca shows at SeaWorld</a>, but they'll be ... "natural" or something. Let's hope the new shows represent an <em>actual</em> improvement for the animals and their trainers, rather than just a cosmetic one. <br></p>
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