Skip to main content

View Diary: This week at progressive state blogs: eating Detroit's seed corn, organizing in AL, cowering in AZ (14 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Sea World has its problems (14+ / 0-)

    I appreciate and support the educational work they do, as well as the marine mammal and sea turtle rescue work they do here in Florida.

    BUT

    I have always had my reservations about keeping animals like orcas and dolphins (and chimps and elephants and other wide-ranging intelligent animals) in restricted areas that are, in effect, prisons. In the case of Sea World, there is also the disturbing trend for more and more "animal shows" to bring the paying crowds in. Of course Sea World, being a privately-owned entity without access to the public funding that nonprofit zoological societies has, must do what they must to obtain the revenue they need to operate (which is why they also have all the rides and theater attractions). But when Sea World was owned by Annheuser-Busch, it was never intended as a profit-maker--it was basically a side interest of the owner, a very expensive hobby, which functioned as a place for education and rescue work, and whatever the admissions revenue didn't cover was paid for largely out of the promotional and advertising budget. It wasn't expected to make a profit.

    Now, however, Sea World is owned by some bigshot Wall Street investment group, and its entire dynamic has changed--and not for the better. Now the emphasis is shifting away from education and rescue work, more towards anything that will bring in more paying customers. The orca shows, which used to have the purpose of demonstrating behaviors that orcas did naturally anyway, have now become elaborate theater designed more to wow the audience with more elaborate "tricks". And there have been accusations that the marine mammal rescue work is now becoming more like a hunting expedition to obtain new animals for exhibit. I find that disturbing.

    And I've never liked the idea of privately-owned for-profit zoos or aquariums. These always do best (both for the animals and for the visitors) when run as non-profit educational centers.

    Nevertheless, Sea World, despite its problems, still does do great education and rescue work, and I will continue to support it as long as the benefits continue to outweigh the downsides--while at the same time doing what I can to correct the downsides.

    Shutting down the whale/dolphin shows will likely make Sea World less profitable, perhaps even un-profitable (though perhaps not--Busch gardens also does extensive conservation and captive-breeding work with its animals, and it does not have any performing-animal shows at all). I'd be disappointed if that led to the entire Sea World operation being shut down as the Wall Street vampires simply discard it and move on to something else to suck all the blood out of. But I'd be very happy if it led to the entire operation being sold to some non-profit entity who will go back to the original goals of education and rescue. My best-case scenario would be that Sea World's operations are taken over by the various state, county, or municipal governments--they are after all  important to the local tourist economies--and run as non-profit zoological societies.

    DISCLAIMER: I have an annual pass to both Sea World and Busch Gardens, and I visit them both regularly, but that is my only connection to them.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 08:20:14 AM PDT

    •  Sending to Top Comments ..... (6+ / 0-)

      ... on the basis of this segment:

      (But) when Sea World was owned by Annheuser-Busch, it was never intended as a profit-maker--it was basically a side interest of the owner, a very expensive hobby, which functioned as a place for education and rescue work, and whatever the admissions revenue didn't cover was paid for largely out of the promotional and advertising budget. It wasn't expected to make a profit.

      Now, however, Sea World is owned by some bigshot Wall Street investment group, and its entire dynamic has changed--and not for the better. Now the emphasis is shifting away from education and rescue work, more towards anything that will bring in more paying customers.

      A change in ownership seems to trigger many changes and - as you note - often not for the better. Thanks, and you'll see your name mentioned in Top Comments, circa 10:00 PM Eastern.

      "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

      by Ed Tracey on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 11:51:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (136)
  • Community (58)
  • Memorial Day (30)
  • Culture (30)
  • Environment (27)
  • Republicans (21)
  • Civil Rights (20)
  • Education (19)
  • Bernie Sanders (19)
  • Media (18)
  • Science (18)
  • Rescued (18)
  • Labor (18)
  • Elections (17)
  • Law (16)
  • Climate Change (16)
  • GOP (16)
  • 2016 (15)
  • United States (14)
  • Marriage Equality (14)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site