Troubled aquatic park SeaWorld announced yesterday that it would cease its orca breeding programs, making the 30 whales currently within its facilities the last generation born in captivity. Since the release of the documentary film Blackfish, SeaWorld has experienced an onslaught of bad press, plummeting profits, and a rapid decrease in attendance. The recent deaths of orca whale Unna, Dart the dolphin, and sickness currently plaguing Tilikum—the orca around which Blackfish revolved—brought further pleas from activists for SeaWorld to empty its tanks. The park has partnered with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to develop further policy changes, including maximizing its focus on marine animal rehabilitation, conservation, and public education regarding the protection of ocean wildlife. Additionally, SeaWorld vowed to reformulate its food policies to offer more vegan and vegetarian options. While statements from SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby have historically been inflammatory, he promised, “Together with HSUS, and with our 20 million guests and 20,000 employees, we can build an army of advocates to protect animals and wild places.”
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