Is the tide going out forever for SeaWorld?
SeaWorld was dealt a major blow on Thursday when it was ruled that it can only expand it's San Diego killer whale tanks if it no longer carries out captive breeding.
The California Coastal Commission approved the expansion but voted 11-1 for an amendment forbidding SeaWorld from breeding, selling or transferring its whales, a spokeswoman said.
"We are disappointed with the conditions that the California Coastal Commission placed on their approval of the Blue World Project, and will carefully review and consider our options," SeaWorld spokesman David Koontz said in an email. "Breeding is a natural, fundamental and important part of an animal's life and depriving a social animal of the right to reproduce is inhumane."
The vote came after an all day meeting attended by hundreds of people, including actress and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals supporter Pamela Anderson.
While the impact that this will have on Orlando is unclear, back in 2014 the Orlando SeaWorld announced plans for similar tank expansions. However with poor recent financial figures that have sent its stock plummeting more than 30 percent, and it's revenue down by 85% from last year it's not looking good for SeaWorld.
Since the controversial 'Black Fish' documentary, SeaWorld's attendance figures have been in decline and they seem to be struggling to find a direction that will restore customer numbers.
Personally I find I'm somewhat torn here. While the Black Fish documentary is very hard to watch, it's also heavily biassed. I certainly don't like PETA very and find their exploitation of the tragedy of Dawn Brancheau's death in the manner it's portrayed in the film just abhorrent as keeping animals in poor conditions (which itself is very difficult to find unbiassed facts about). Then there is the argument that SeaWorld contribute to research and conservation, however there are <a href="http://uk.whales.org/blog/2014/05/seaworld-conservation-donor">reports</a> that the actual sums involved are very small.
Maybe then it really is time the these types of entertainment parks to either really up their game, or close down permanently. Or maybe we just need some honesty from both sides in this issue, as it seems clear that the public who visit SeaWorld don't really know what to think.