The Animal Welfare Institute welcomes the announcement today by SeaWorld that it will end the company-wide breeding program for its orcas, which will lead to a phase-out of the display of orcas in all of its parks. SeaWorld will also refocus on its rescue, rehabilitation and release mission, become more actively and openly engaged in advocacy for marine conservation, and promote more environmentally sound and humane practices when sourcing food for its parks' restaurants.
The decision to end its orca breeding program globally and to commit to ending the collection of exhibit animals from the wild, as well as to a “no orca” policy should SeaWorld expand its brand into new international markets, is a monumental and important first step forward in achieving a more humane business model for the company.
We thank SeaWorld’s CEO, Joel Manby, for making these commitments and being responsive to the desires and views of the company’s theme park visitors. We look forward to engaging in future discussions with Manby and his team to ensure that the company continues to improve its practices and policies surrounding captive cetaceans.