Pink is really not here for SeaWorld. According to a report from Rolling Stone, the pop star attended a meeting on behalf of PETA with SeaWorld’s board of directors on Wednesday. (Other celebrities have submitted questions to or attended these meetings over the years, including Jessica Biel and Pamela Anderson.)
Pink submitted the following statement to the board, asking them, essentially, to step down from their role as bullies of marine wildlife:
As a mother, I would never take my kids anywhere that keeps intelligent, sensitive beings in intensive confinement. Children are impressionable, and the last thing I would want to teach my kids is that “might makes right” or that it’s OK to bully and exploit someone just because they look different from us. But that’s exactly what SeaWorld does by locking up animals [...]
She asked them to “do right by orcas and other animals” and give them up to sanctuaries. SeaWorld responded with a statement of its own, denying the allegations that animals are abused in their parks, and arguing it would be much riskier to relocate their animals—like killer whales in particular—to “sea cages,” which their “team of marine biologists, veterinarians and animal-care experts” have said can “pose very real health risks.”
PETA then slammed the ball back in their court, calling out SeaWorld for trying to smear sanctuaries in order to maintain ethical high ground:
The company is desperately working to create a false narrative by referring to seaside sanctuaries as “sea cages.” These sanctuaries–which have been endorsed by marine-protection organizations–are certainly not “cages,” a term far more appropriate for describing the concrete cells in which SeaWorld currently confines orcas.
This is not the first time we’ve heard this. SeaWorld agreed to stop breeding whales two years ago after tremendous public pressure, which was prompted in part because of the documentary Blackfish. (That whale featured in the film, Tilikum, died last year.) However, even then, the company said none of the SeaWorld whales would be released into the wild, arguing they’d likely die.
It seems to me like the question that SeaWorld keeps circling around but not wanting to answer is: What does the future of SeaWorld look like without any animals? Orcas were, at one point, the face of the brand and without them in some capacity, I imagine SeaWorld will be facing a sort of existential crisis. It’s a shame the board of directors seems unwilling to face that, because every one of these impassioned petitions seems to just delay the inevitable and cause more pain for both animal rights, the company, and—most importantly—the animals.