SeaWorld trying to improve its reputation with Ask SeaWorld campaign as various animal rights activists have been condemning the conditions in which killer whales have been living in this thematic park.
The campaign was released on March 23 and includes TV commercials and print ads and a few video interviews with veterinarians and longtime trainers. The purpose of Ask SeaWorld it to persuade the public into posting questions regarding the treatment of SeaWorld animals on the park’s Twitter account but the program also succeeded in catching the attention of those fighting for the rights of animals.
The campaign was launched at the same time former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove launched his book “Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish” where he tackles important subjects such as the inappropriate way killer whales have been living in this famous sea thematic park.
According to SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs the synchronization between the book and the campaign is coincidental.
The first TV commercial released included an interview with Chris Dold, a veterinarian at Sea World, contesting the allegation that killer whales living in captivity have a shorter lifespan. Dold used as argument the results of a federal report which show that animals born as Sea World live just as long as those living in the wild. So killer whales (or orcas) live between 30 and 50 years regardless of environment.
Politifact.com, a site that verifies facts examined the ad and concluded that the statement was “partially true”. Douglas DeMaster, science director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center explained that the lifespan of killer whales “are quite close to what you might see in the wild”.
But there are some factors that the report did not take into consideration like quality of life. The Polifact review also stated that the federal report doesn’t address the claim that the lifespan of animals in captivity could be longer in some cases as these animals lack predators and are regularly examined by veterinarian staff.
Although Fred Jacobs stated that the public had a positive reaction to the campaign, many people on Twitter used the #AskSeaWorld to condemn the company. PETA has been strongly criticizing the SeaWorld campaign. The activist organization runs a website called SeaWorldOfHurt where users can send e-mail directly to SeaWorld demanding the release of all the company’s animals into protected sanctuaries.
Image Source: Ask SeaWorld