(SEAWORLD/WHALES/CAPTIVE ORCAS) In response to the criticism SeaWorld received after the release of the documentary film, BlackfishSeaWorld San Diego announced its plans to expand the park’s orca whale enclosures.

The new orca environment will double in its size— spanning 50 feet deep and 350 feet in length. However, animal activists argue that enlarging the orca enclosures will do very little to improve orca health. When not in captivity, orca whales enjoy swimming as deep as 1,000 feet into the ocean. Therefore, an enclosure that is merely 50 feet deep would still not provide the whales with a proper environment.

Read on to learn about why these intelligent creatures deserve lives free from captivity. — Global Animal

PETA is calling for orca whales to be placed in large-scale ocean sanctuaries. Photo Credit: Chris Gotshall/AP Photo
PETA is calling for SeaWorld’s orca whales to be placed in large-scale ocean sanctuaries. Photo Credit: Chris Gotshall/AP Photo

Los Angeles Times, Jared S. Goodman

As SeaWorld’s plummeting stock value and attendance attest, the public is keenly aware that confining intelligent mammals in concrete tanks is unacceptably cruel. Captivity is so stressful for orcas that they attack each other, self-mutilate by gnawing on gates and the sides of tanks, and are given psychotropic drugs just to stop them from lashing out.

SeaWorld San Diego houses 10 orca whales in captivity. Photo credit: Barcroft/Fame Pictures
SeaWorld San Diego houses 10 captive orca whales Photo credit: Barcroft/Fame Pictures

In the wild, orcas easily dive to depths of 1,000 feet, but SeaWorld’s planned tank will be only 50 feet deep and 350 feet long. Orcas would have to swim more than 1,500 laps per day to approximate the 100 miles that they would often swim each day in their ocean homes.

If SeaWorld really wants to improve orcas’ environments, it should let them live as nature intended, by sending them to seaside sanctuaries, where they can feel and experience the ocean, hear their extended families, and possibly one day swim freely with them.

When not performing, SeaWorld whales are confined to even smaller tanks. Photo Credit: Slavetoentertainment.com
When not performing, SeaWorld whales are confined to even smaller tanks. Photo Credit: Slavetoentertainment.com

Until then, orcas—and the company’s bottom line — will continue to suffer.

TAKE ACTION: Submit a letter to the editor about your thoughts regarding SeaWorld’s plans to enlarge orca environments.

Read the full Los Angeles Times article, here: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/readersreact/la-le-0819-tuesday-seaworld-whales-20140819-story.html

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