At the close of the stock market on Friday, media outlet The Dodo revealed that SeaWorld’s stock had dropped to $16.21 per share—the lowest it has been in more than a year. The troubled aquatic park began its demise after the 2013 release of documentary Blackfish—before which its stock was valued at $40 per share—that exposed SeaWorld’s exploitation of marine life for entertainment. Friday’s low stock price can be credited to a new video of an orca named Morgan (on loan from SeaWorld in Spain’s Loro Parque), who intentionally beached herself to escape tight confinement. SeaWorld investors recently filed a lawsuit against the park for masking the damage the documentary and subsequent events have had on its profits by re-branding itself as a conservation facility. “The announcement was a tacit acknowledgement that SeaWorld could no longer afford to deny the profound impact Blackfish has had on its business or continue to blatantly ignore the data showing a clear shift in public sentiment regarding its killer whale program,” the suit states. Public awareness of the inherent cruelty involved in keeping marine animals captive for entertainment purposes and outrage over the deaths of several marine animals—a young orca named Unna, Dart the dolphin, among others—have led to consistently low attendance rates, plummeting profits, and calls for SeaWorld to shutter and retire their captive animals to sanctuary facilities.
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