SeaWorld is a popular attraction among tourists. The marine mammal parks bring in millions of tourists a year as they all come to see the main attraction, Shamu, and other killer whales and marine wildlife. However, a new poll shows that many are against the whales being kept captive.
According to a first time ever national poll, public opinion shows that many people don't agree with the whales being held in captivity. The survey, conducted by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, the Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Welfare Institute, 40 percent of 1,000 adults who took the phone survey dais they are against the whales being kept captive.
The survey found that only one in four people approve of it.
"With recent events shining a spotlight on performing orcas in places like SeaWorld, including the deaths of two trainers and current court challenges questioning the legality, safety and appropriateness of keeping killer whales in confinement, we felt it time to measure public attitudes about orcas in captivity," Courtney Vail of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said in a statement. "The public has glimpsed the darker side of the captivity industry and is becoming disenchanted with it. The true face of captivity is actually quite repugnant."
In 2010, a SeaWorld whale trainer, Dawn Brancheau was killed by a six-ton Orca. Since then, trainers are not allowed in the water with the whales during whale shows.
In addition to the safety of trainers, animl right groups are against the animals being held in aquarium tanks that they're too big, too intelligent, and too social complex to live in captivity, according to USA Today.
The survey showed that people wouldn't care too much if the whales were no longer part of aquariums, zoos or other aquatic them parks. Seventy-one percent said the lack or orcas wouldn't keep them from the parks while 14 percent said they'd me even more likely to visit one of these parks if there were no killer whales.
In fact, more people are heading out to sea to see whales in their natural habitats. Whale-watching is on the rise as tours are offered around the world from Massachusetts to New Zealand. This activity is something that The Humane Society approves of as long as no harm is caused to the whales.
"We support responsible viewing of whales and dolphins in the wild," says Humane Society marine mammal scientist Naomi Rose according to USA Today. "Responsible means controlling the numbers of vessels, the time spent with the animals, the areas where vessels can follow the whales and so on. Whale watching can be done badly - we support whale watching when it's done right."
SeaWorld has locations in Orlando, Florida, San Diego, California, and San Antonio, Texas. Each location has several killer whales.