Research Position—jcirrs

Shut Down Sea World

Beloved animals are close to our hearts. Whether it is a pet or wild, everyone has a favorite animal. What if you were told that your favorite animal was endangered? This means that a specific species of creatures are seriously at risk for extinction. My favorite animals are orca whales and sadly, they are endangered. SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment has been keeping orca whales, and other sea life, captive for over fifty years. Sea World claims to have been providing personal, interactive and education experiences with wildlife sea creatures for more than 50 years. There are four parks in America with nearly 11 million visits pre year. The parks create orca, dolphin, and sea lion shows year-round featuring specialized whale trainers. Sea World originally opened to provide animal rescue and rehabilitation services and are the first facility to have held the birth of the first killer whale in captivity. What Sea World visitors do not know is that they are actually harming ocean life. Sea World Parks and Entertainment needs to take responsibility for their horrible actions or animal cruelty. Research shows that Sea World shortens the life expectancy of their captured sea life, unknowingly harm and fail to care for their captive whales and animals, and continuously let their animals hurt their trainers.

Orcas are the apex predators of the sea and the largest members of the dolphin family. They are highly intelligent, highly adaptable and able to communicate and coordinate hunting tactics. According to, researchers say there has never been a documented attack on a human in the wild, and that there are in fact some stories of orcas actually protecting humans at sea from sharks and other predators. Orcas are found throughout the world’s seas, typically in pods, or families, that share a common dialect. When an orca is born, it stays with its family its entire life, just like humans do. They mostly live in cold areas of the sea, like in northern regions. Luckily Sea World has not captured any new whales for over 30 years. Each whale in every park location was either born into captivity or was captured when he or she was a baby. Sea World of Hurt and PETA are working together to persuade park goers to discontinue their visits to SeaWorld. Their website gives information and statistics as to why SeaWorld is a horrible place.

Sea World Of Hurt has been working together with PETA for many years trying to liberate the captured mammals held in SeaWorld throughout the country. Evidence shows that Sea World shortens the life expectancy of orca whales. According to Sea World of Hurt’s website, orca whales have a lifespan of, “…60 to 70 years for males and 80 to more than 100 for females.” The average age of death for an orca at Sea World is about 13 years old. This is due to the fact that orcas are not in their natural habitats. Orcas can fend for themselves and supply food for their families; they are not in any danger in the seas. In the wild, orcas hunt and obtain water from their prey. But since they are captive cannot hunt, trainers keep gelatin to the whales in an attempted to keep the whales hydrated. Gelatin is an unnatural substance, made up of animal by-products, that is unnecessary for the whales ( The little things Sea World trainers do have huge impacts on each whale. Orcas are meant to be swimming in the wild ocean with every other creature.

These captive whales are not being treated properly. Orca whales swim up to 100 miles or more a day. In captivity, the whales are all thrown together into small swimming pools with no place to escape or exercise. According to, in order for a captive whale to get the necessary amount of swimming miles a day, he or she would need to swim 1,208 laps around the perimeter of Sea Worlds largest pool. Without this exercise, a male orcas dorsal fin, which is normally supposed to stand 5 feet high, is more likely to collapse. Also this exercise is needed to keep the whales body weight and inner organs healthy, just like humans. The ocean water creates a type of wave on the dorsal fin that allows it to stand erect. Sea World trainers claim that this condition is common, but research done by Sea World of Hurt shows that, “in the wild, it rarely ever happens and it is a sign of an injured or unhealthy orca.” If whales in the wild had collapsed dorsal fins then this condition would be natural, but since it is the result of captivity, a collapsed dorsal fin is unnatural. A collapsed dorsal fin is not the only harmful thing happening to the captive whales. The whales are left out in the sun for nearly the entire day. In the wild, SeaWorldofHurt says that, orcas spend up to 95% of their time submerged and find shade in the depths of the ocean, but at Sea World, their tanks are far too shallow. Since the tanks are so shallow, the orcas have no place to hide from the sun and just like humans, the whales get sunburned. The sunburns are then, “shielded from the public eye with the help of black zinc oxide, which matches their skin. Although zinc oxide is also used as a sunblock, orcas almost always have sunburn before it is applied.” No, black zinc oxide is not harmful, but the fact that the trainers at Sea World let their animals burn in the blistering sun is heartbreaking. Sunburn can lead to painful welts and if one is exposed to too much sun it could possibly lead to a form of cancer. Not only does the sun hurt the whales, but also they hurt each other. At the Sea World Park in Orlando, the female whales bully the male whale. The result of being held in a tiny tank leads to aggression. The most common injury to the whales is rake marks. These are the result of teeth scarping against skin, or being bitten. Unlike in the wild, when an aggressive attack happens, there is nowhere for the animals to escape to. In September of 2012 a whale, “was injured on a sharp metal edge in his tank at SeaWorld San Diego while reportedly feeling from an aggressive altercation with two other orcas.” The tanks holding these animals are no longer safe for them. In January of 2012, the USDA, United States Department of Agriculture, issued an official warning to SeaWorld San Antonio for its “repeated failure to provide drain covers that are securely fastened in order to minimize the potential risk of animal entrapment.” This is a violation and has resulted in the death of a sea lion. The USDA conducted an investigation and cited the marine park for several violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including the use of expired surgical materials, some almost a decade old. The USDA also documented that a dolphin tank and the areas surrounding the orca performance tank were in disrepair and contained cracked and crumbling concrete and rusty beams that could pose a threat to the health and safety of both the animals and workers. The USDA pointed out that the unsafe conditions “might create a health risk if these pieces of concrete fall off into the pool and get ingested, or if they become abrasive” and that they “do not facilitate cleaning and disinfection.” All of these many risk are harming the captive sea creatures.

Orca whales are wild animals. When a trainer swims in a whale’s tank, they are entering whale territory. Whale trainers are not marine biologists; they are simply performers. Most SeaWorld visitors have the same common knowledge as some, if not most, of the “professional” trainers. The whales’ relationship with their trainers is not built on unconditional love like a parents and children, but rather built on what the trainers gives him or her. Sometimes harsh behavior given off from the orca is not because of lack of food, “In a few cases, we can attribute this behavior to disease or to the presence of frustrating or confusing situations” such as a small tank and nowhere to escape to and bullying from other whales (Hoyt). There have been zero reported deaths or injuries of humans by orca whales in the wild, but according to, there have been about 130 reported attacks, more injuries than deaths, of humans by orcas in captivity. In December of 2009, an orca killed trainer Alexis Martínez at a marine park in the Canary Islands. Only two months later, trainer Dawn Brancheau, SeaWorld’s best trainer, was killed by an orca at SeaWorld Orlando. OSHA, the occupational safety and health administration, tried to fight against SeaWorld saying Martínez’s death should have been served as a warning about swimming and working with whales, ultimately trying to save Brancheau’s life.  During a “relationship session” with Tilikum, the largest male whale at Sea World Orland, Tilikum pulled on Brancheau’s ponytail and dragged her to the bottom of the pool and ended up killing her. Sea World blamed Brancheau for her own death, when in reality it was all Tilikum. Tilikum has been involved with 2 previous deaths. OSHA believes SeaWorld knew how dangerous Tilikum could be but did nothing about it.  At this point, Tilikum should have been released back into the wild where he would be able to let his aggression be taken out on his prey, not trainers. The website fights in favor of OSHA in trying to shut down SeaWorld and inform the world of the dangers and actions that occur there. SeaWorld will always put the blame on their whales for injuring their trainers, rather than putting the blame on themselves for causing the whales to go insane and ultimately injure trainers. One time, a dolphin bit a young child who put their tank in the dolphins’ tank. Personally, I would not want someone intruding my home and personal space either. SeaWorld has been in a three-year legal battle with the federal government, arguing that human contact with killer whales is educational and integral to the care of the species (Leinw, Leger). Now, there is a federal ban opposed on letting trainers swim with the whales. Why are the whales being blamed and not the trainers? Because the trainers are taught how to preform with the whales.

Sea World Parks and Entertainment holds over 50 innocent sea creature captive. The park is endangers some of the most beautiful and interesting creatures on this earth. Not only are orcas being treated badly, but also are dolphins, sea lions, and other incredible animals. Orcas are meant to be swimming in the wild with every other wild sea creature. Taking orcas out of the wild ruins our circle of life and puts their lives at risk. Not having enough room in a tank leads to a collapsed dorsal fins and fights among the whales. But is it too late to save the whales? Could they possibly survive on their own in the wild now after being captive their entire lives? Sea World should have been only used as an animal rehabilitation, not a circus show.

Works Cited

“Captivity.” WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

Hoyt, Erich. “Dangers to Trainers.” PBS. PBS, 1992. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

Leinw, Donna, and Leger. “SeaWorld Challenges Ban on Whale-trainer Contact.” USA Today. Gannett, 12 Nov. 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2015.

PETA. “10 Things You Didn’t Know About SeaWorld – SeaWorld of Hurt.” SeaWorld of Hurt. N.p., 2015. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

“What Causes Dorsal Fin Collapse?” Cetacean Inspiration. N.p., 06 Jan. 2013. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

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2 Responses to Research Position—jcirrs

  1. jcirrs says:

    Feedback was requested.

    Feedback provided.


  2. davidbdale says:

    P1. Your paragraph is pretty clean, jcirrs, but it has too many topics in it. You don’t seemto be able to separate your paragraphs into clusters of sentences that develop a single small topic. INstead, you hop from topic to topic; readers get confused.

    Your claims all seem to have equal weight. For example:
    —There are four parks in America with nearly 11 million visits pre year.

    This appears to be as important as:
    —SeaWorld does more harm to the orca species than good AND
    —Sea World shortens the life expectancy of their captured sea life

    Two sentences I truly do not understand:
    Sea World was to provide animal rescue and rehabilitation services.
    What does was to provide mean? It sounds as if they had an obligation to provide but did not live up to it. But we have to guess.
    They take the responsibility to have held the first birth of a killer whale in captivity.
    What does take the responsibility to have held mean? It sounds as if they might be bragging about a birth that didn’t occur. But it might also mean that they shouldn’t have hosted the birth, but they have to admit that it occurred.

    P2. There are clearly two paragraphs worth of material here. I’m surprised you can’t feel the natural paragraph break when you read the material, jcirrs.

    Your lifespan evidence is chilling, but you should notice it comes from highly opinionated sources. Were you not able to find any objective way to verify these claims of open sea life expectancy vs. captive expectancy?

    The gelatin claims are unclear. How in the world is gelatin used, how does it hydrate the animals, what sort of harm does it do?

    P3. There must be some other advantages to swimming 100 miles a day than to keep the dorsal fin erect. What are those advantages? How do they contribute to a whale’s welfare or what we might want to call a fulfilled whale life?

    Again you have four paragraphs here:
    1) for the swimming (I presume they hunt food and explore territory)
    2) for the dorsal fin dilemma (including why it matters)
    3) for the sunburn
    4) for the various USDA violations

    Throughout your essay you’re making the same punctuation error repeatedly. Be sure to review the post: Absolutely Essential Grammar for all the rules. Meanwhile, the periods and commas ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS go inside the quotation marks.’

    Also, we use informal citation, not the ( in parentheses type.

    According to, the USDA identified unsafe conditions that “might create a health risk if these pieces of concrete fall off into the pool and get ingested, or if they become abrasive” and further criticized SeaWorld because they “do not facilitate cleaning and disinfection.”

    P4. Again, too much material for one paragraph. Among the problems this causes, you bury the important claim that captive animals act out aggressively and injure or kill their human handlers. This essential claim needs to command a paragraph of its own.

    On the other hand, you cannot cheat with these numbers. When you say “about 130 reported deaths and injuries of humans by orcas” any attentive reader will say to herself: “That could mean 129 injuries and 1 death.” So what’s the real number? Any what qualifies as an injury? If the animal brushes the human rider along the side of the pool, is the resulting abrasion an “injury of a human by a captive orca” or is it a “training accident”?

    Why would SeaWorld want to blame the animals? Doesn’t that expose them to criticism from animal rights advocates who can claim the animals are made violent by their inhumane treatment?

    P5. The end comes too soon, jcirrs. You have put together scant anecdotal evidence of the mistreatment of animals, mostly observations from people who are declared enemies of the parks.

    Word count is certainly not the most important characteristic of a good essay, but for a semester of research, there should be closer to 3000 words here than the 1500 or so you’ve produced. (Which is NOT me begging you to add a bunch of padding to artificially inflate the length of your essay!)

    The lifespan evidence is pretty chilling, but for the most part SeaWorld is husbanding animals they bred themselves, not bringing in captives from the wild. Some might argue the park is making cocker spaniels, if you see the analogy, domesticating orcas as pets. That may not make it any more defensible to PETA, but humans have long ago accommodated themselves to bringing wild animals in from the wild and raising them as housed or kept animals. Is that what’s happening here? It would be an important argument to refute.

    Probably more feedback than you were looking for. 😛


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