Ever. I am never taking my children to SeaWorld. Aquariums, sure. Rehabilitation centers, you bet. Whale watching tours, I'll pack the Dramamine. SeaWorld...NEVER.
They can go with their grandparents. Maybe families of friends.
But I will not encourage it or be proponent.
I don't believe in SeaWorld. I think it is cruel and heartbreaking.
When I was younger, my parents took me and my brother to SeaWorld, back when there was one in Ohio. Yes, Ohio. Right there is the first issue. Whales don't belong in Ohio.
Anyway, I loved seeing the whales and immediately had a dream hatching in my mind of becoming a whale trainer. I was in love with whales. They were beautiful and smart and looked like so much fun. We stayed there all day, and as the park was closing, I heard the beautiful orcas talking to one another. It made me cry.
This trip was what started my love of marine biology and the ocean. I started researching what it took to be in the water with these intelligent beings. The more and more I found out, the less and less I wanted to do it. SeaWorld broke my heart.
Do you know what happens to those whales in tiny tanks? It's like solitary confinement. Would you be happy if all of a sudden you were plucked from your life in the deep blue, swimming happily with family, hunting at will and put into a tiny tank, forced to learn tricks for food while loosing your musculature? I doubt it.
I understand there is a very educational component to SeaWorld, and they do a great amount of valuable research and conservation. And I fully understand that these parks provide the majority of people with the only opportunity they will ever have to witness these creatures.
But do they really need to? No. Not at the cost to the whales. There are other means to experience them.
Am I saddened by what happened at SeaWorld today? Absolutely. My heart goes out to the family and friends of the trainer that was killed. It is a tragic situation for all parties involved. And I don't think that she "had it coming" or anything. BUT YOU PUT A WHALE IN A FISHTANK! This is bound to happen, its inevitable. Orcas are intelligent hunters. With brains.
If they kill that beautiful whale, I will be very upset. They should look into releasing the whale. (And yes, I understand that even that process is not easy or cheap, or even feasible.)
I know I have taken my son to the zoo. Again, I understand the principles behind zoos. I will most likely take him again. But the zoo animals don't do tricks. They aren't interacting with humans. He has gone to aquariums. And maybe it makes me a hypocrite for taking him to those places. But I believe wild animals belong in the wild. When you cage up a wild animal, you can't know what to expect. You can't predict what will happen to them. Especially when you are throwing human beings into their ENCLOSED TERRITORIES.
I want my son to experience the beauty the world has to offer. I want him to experience wildlife. But an orca in a tank jumping on command? Not wildlife. It's simply a water circus.
I am a scientist. I am an ecologist. I am an evironmentalist. I have done wildlife research and behavioral research involving animals in their natural habitats. I do conservation projects and am involved with restoration. I have volunteered with animal rehabilitation. And this is something I believe in with all my heart.
I will never swim with dolphins either.