Today, the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife is holding a hearing to discuss the “educational value” of marine amusement parks and the recent death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was dragged under water and battered to death by Tilly, a 12,000-pound captive orca.
PETA submitted testimony calling on federal authorities to prohibit the confinement of orcas (killer whales) at SeaWorld and other marine-mammal parks.
In a spin that would make Dick Cheney proud, SeaWorld execs explained that Dawn’s killing (in which her scalp was removed, her arm was disconnected from her body, and her spine, ribs, and face were broken) was “play” gone awry. SeaWorld waited a mere three days before resuming its pricey orca shows, the newest of which is called “Believe,” which includes “elaborate set pieces, state-of-the-art multimedia, music, and choreography.” Sounds real “educational,” doesn’t it?
SeaWorld and other greedy for-profit parks leave visitors thinking that orcas are little more than wind-up toys, all called Shamu, when they are in fact highly intelligent predators who, in the wild, would swim up to 100 miles every day and who think, plan, and communicate … and hunt. Dawn was Tilly’s third human victim. If Congress doesn’t act, who will be number four? Everyone can help by spreading the word to stay away from SeaWorld and other marine theme parks when hitting the road this summer.
Written by Jennifer O’Connor