If you’ve seen the film Blackfish, you already know that SeaWorld has a long history of abusing animals and covering up injuries sustained by trainers. Southwest Airlines has been a cheerleader for this cruelty by partnering with SeaWorld for 25 years — offering deals on flights and promotions to customers who attend SeaWorld. Now that SeaWorld’s inhumane practices are in the spotlight, I’m asking the airline to stop partnering with SeaWorld immediately.
There are so many problems including abuse of Tilikum, the main breeding male orca, who was caught in the wild when he was just 2 years old and has since been stressed out, isolated, and pushed to the point of eventually killing a trainer. Orcas in captivity live miserable lives which are much shorter than those in the wild. Nakai, an orca at SeaWorld in San Diego had “a dinner plate-sized chunk” injury that many believe came from an attack from another orca at the facility. Another example is that orcas at SeaWorld have collapsed dorsal fins which does not happen in the wild where they belong. It’s a sign of being physically and mentally unhealthy. In all, The Orca Project reports that “37 orcas have died in captivity at SeaWorld’s 3 parks.”
The New York Times describes some of the footage from Blackfish as: “bleeding whales, flanks raked by the teeth of their fellow captives; a trainer crushed between two gigantic beasts with only his wet suit holding him together; another trainer dragged repeatedly to the bottom of a pool until he manages to escape.”
On top of all this, SeaWorld is currently waging a battle to bring wild caught beluga whales into the US from Russia even though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) denied the permit due to concerns of the animals’ welfare. More than a dozen belugas have already prematurely died in SeaWorld’s ‘care’ but they still want to capture more wild animals. The shameful list of SeaWorld’s unethical treatment of animals can go on and on.
I have flown on Southwest as recently as this year and was even considering getting one of those Southwest Airlines mileage credit cards, but no more — Southwest needs to understand that they are promoting animal cruelty seen in Blackfish if they continue to partner with SeaWorld as they have done for the last 25 years. They do promotional deals, sent out joint-press releases patting each other on the back, and are working hand in hand to profit from the misery of animals exploited for SeaWorld.
Tilikum and the other animals at SeaWorld deserve better, and that will start to happen when SeaWorld feels wide public action. We have the awareness, now let’s get active!
Southwest Airlines has a choice. Will it support the animal cruelty at SeaWorld or make a compassionate choice to end this partnership of cruelty?
Please sign my petition.