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17 Oct 2014

SeaWorld 'will not back down' against animal activists says executive
BY Tom Anstey

If state legislation passes, SeaWorld will no longer be able to hold Orca shows in California

If state legislation passes, SeaWorld will no longer be able to hold Orca shows in California
photo: SeaWorld

San Diego SeaWorld’s president, John Reilly, has said the park will “not back down” against activists opposing the park’s decision to continue to keep cetaceans in captivity.

“The wild is a threatened place,” said the SeaWorld Executive speaking to political leaders and businessmen at the South County Economic Development Council‘s 24th annual economic summit in San Diego on 10 October. “I’m very proud of SeaWorld, and we’re not backing down. We have no intention of allowing anyone to close all zoos and aquariums.

“The best thing we can do at SeaWorld is let our employees tell their story about how they care for animals.”

2014 marks SeaWorld’s 50th anniversary, but the brand hasn’t had much to celebrate about with heavy criticism coming in the wake of the controversial documentary Blackfish, which has led to a significant drop in share value and proposed state legislation for California, which would mean SeaWorld could no longer host orca shows in that state. Big name sponsors have also been withdrawing their support for SeaWorld, with Virgin America being the most recent firm to cut ties with the organisation.

SeaWorld has actively fought back against the criticism though, revealing plans for a US$100m (€78m, £62m) redevelopment to double the amount of water devoted to orcas at the San Diego park for 2018, with similar upgrades to follow at parks in Orlando, Florida and San Antonio, Texas.



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