Target: CEO of SeaWorld Jim Atchinson
Goal: Praise SeaWorld for providing orcas with a bigger habitat
Consumers very rarely have a huge impact on how businesses conduct themselves, but thanks to investigative journalism, things have changed in the business industry. Just like the documentary Super Size Me changed the menus of many fast food restaurants, the documentary Blackfish has changed the way aquariums and water parks are treating their animals. It is because of consumers refusing to go to SeaWorld that has the company changing its tune regarding animal welfare. The park is now making plans to build a 10-million-gallon habitat for its killer whales, doubling their current habitat. The park still has many steps to take for the well being of their animals, but SeaWorld should be praised for listening to the wants of the public, and the needs of their animals.
Public dissent started with the Blackfish documentary, which aired at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2013. The film quickly gained popularity as The New York Times covered its story, and became streamable on Netflix. The documentary details the horrendous conditions of killer whales; how they are captured, trained, and become aggressive while living in SeaWorld and other theme parks. One such killer whale, named Shamu, even killed his own trainer. The graphic and cruel nature of the parks shocked the public, and Seaworld saw a substantial financial loss.
After falling $35 million dollars short of their expected earnings, and seeing its stock drop by a whopping 33%, the park is now making plans to increase the whales’ habitat size. The new tank will double in size, and provide the orcas with more stimulating activity. While some activists are urging the park to close their killer whale program entirely, consumers have actually made a difference. The park should be praised for listening to the demands of the public and making major changes for the benefit of these animals.
Dear Jim Atchinson,
For several months, you denied that SeaWorld saw any financial losses until Wall Street announced that your company saw its stock plummet. To make up for the financial loss and the public outcry, your company has announced the creation of a larger tank for the orcas to live in. The orcas will also have a more stimulating environment, as Seaworld will provide them with enrichment opportunities.
I am writing this letter to praise you for making these changes for the betterment of these animals. The treatment of these whales in past years is outrageous, and it is quite obvious that trainers were in danger as well.I hope you will continue to be mindful of how the public views your actions, and to also be mindful of how these animals are treated.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Curimedia via Wikimedia Commons