SeaWorld has been buying up full page advertisements in newspapers across the US in an attempt to counter the growing backlash against its killer whale shows. Revelations about mistreatment of killer whales, and the threats to trainers were exposed in the hit documentary film Blackfish, which was released earlier in the year.
The film looks in detail at the issues surrounding keeping killer whales in captivity, highlighting the boredom and stress that they suffer, and also documents the killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010 by one of the captive orcas, Tilikum.
Public feeling towards captive whale and dolphin shows has dramatically altered since the release of the film. Recently a number of entertainers, including Heart, Barenaked Ladies and Willie Nelson, have all cancelled performances at SeaWorld.
One school in California decided not to go on its annual overnight field trip to the park and students spoke out against SeaWorld’s captivity shows.