Teri Wilson
November 09, 2015 12:20 pm

There’s big news on the SeaWorld front today. HUGE news. Killer whale-sized, actually. SeaWorld’s San Diego location is phasing out its Shamu show next year and will be replacing it with “a new orca experience debuting in 2017, described as ‘informative’ and designed to take place in a more natural setting that would carry a ‘conservation message inspiring people to act,'” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. A SeaWorld webcast is planned for later today, in which SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Joel Manby will outline the new vision of the company and all 11 of its theme parks. You’ve got our attention, SeaWorld. We’re listening!

SeaWorld has struggled with mounting criticism from animal lovers all over the world since the 2013 release of the documentary Blackfish, which exposed the tragic realities involved with keeping killer whales in captivity. The concern hasn’t lessened in any way. If anything, concerns over SeaWorld’s practices and treatment of orcas have gained momentum. There’s a new documentary in the works, a long-time animal trainer at SeaWorld penned a heartbreaking memoir about his time with the company, and Barbie even quit her gig as a SeaWorld trainer.

Just last month, when SeaWorld requested permission for a $100 million expansion of the killer whale cages at its San Diego location, the California Coastal Commission approved the project but at the same time slapped them with a ban on killer whale breeding as well as transferring, selling or trading any of their current 11 orcas. 

It seems as though SeaWorld might finally be paying attention to what animal rights activists and concerned animal lovers have been saying for the past two years. Let’s hope so. While today’s announcement is great news for the orcas at the San Diego SeaWorld location, it’s left us wondering about the future of the Shamu show in Orlando and San Antonio. You’re move, SeaWorld. We’re waiting.

Related reading: 

SeaWorld Barbie quits her job, makes a kickass statement about animal rights

Another doc raises serious questions about SeaWorld

[Images via Shutterstock and Matel.]

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