Published on : Friday, April 4, 2014
The SeaWorld marine park has seen a drop in visitor numbers after the documentary about the treatment to orcas in the park. The park attendance fell by 13% from 3.5 million in 2013 to 3.05 million this year. Annual attendance dropped by 4.1 per cent between 2012 and 2013.
The documentary features that keeping killer whales in captivity is detrimental for the animals and also for the keepers. A bull orca at SeaWorld’s Florida Park had killed three people which included a SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau.
The SeaWorld parks are locate in Florida, Texas and California and their authorities claim that there has been no difference in the number of visitors in these parks Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite said. Rise in ticket prices is the reason for low visitor numbers and renovation work in the park has led low attendance as shows are less. The numbers will resume by the end of the month felt the authorities.
A court statement revealed that SeaWorld administers psychoactive drug to its whales. In a legal battle between SeaWorld and its rival group Marineland, it emerged that orcas had been given Benzodiazepine, which contains valium, and is designed to dampen anxiety and moderate aggressive behaviour.
Peta, the animal right group said in a statement “SeaWorld is in… hot water since Blackfish showed the mental anguish of orcas taken from the great oceans and trapped for eternity in SeaWorld’s swimming pools – and now court documents have revealed that SeaWorld also pumps these marine slaves full of psychotropic drugs in order to force them to perform stupid tricks.”
The SeaWorld spokesman spoke in defense of the usage of Benzodiazepine by justifying that it is used for “cetacean healthcare, including killer whales, is limited, infrequent, and only as clinically indicated based on the assessment of the attending veterinarian”. They also added that it was done for the well being of the animals that are in their care.
The California state assembly will vote for a total ban on the shows of SeaWorld Park in San Diego. The bills fate will affect the economy of San Diego, said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Banning the orca shows would “hurt San Diego jobs”. During the summer, the city’s SeaWorld Park employs about 4,500 people, and attracts about 4.4 million visitors per year. SeaWorld expects to post revenue of approximately $1.5bn (£904m).
The Pixar filmmaker’s finale Finding Dory of the sequel of 2003’s Finding Nemo have already altered their story line after the documentary on the killer whales in SeaWorld was released.
Tags: Benzodiazepine, florida, Florida Park, killer whales, SeaWorld, SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, Texas and California