Being that I am both an amusement park and travel enthusiast, the recent story about Southwest & SeaWorld’s partnership has piqued my interest. Yesterday, protesters delivered a petition with 27,000 signatures to Southwest’s headquarters in Dallas. Their petition demanded that Southwest end their 25 year partnership with SeaWorld. As a response, Southwest issued a statement on their blog reaffirming their relationship with SeaWorld.
In part Southwest said, “We have a longstanding relationship with SeaWorld that is based on travel and bringing families together. We are engaged with Sea World related to the recent concerns being raised. We are in a listening and education mode with the goal of upholding our commitments as a good corporate citizen.” Click here for the full post.
While that development yesterday interested me, something I read today stood out even more. This morning I spotted an article on an amusement industry site called MiceAge. The article contains an interview with one of the trainers who was a consultant on the movie Blackfish. In the interview she blasts the director of the film as being agenda driven and not seeking out the truth. You can read the interview here.
As someone who grew up taking annual visits to SeaWorld, I am torn by this. I certainly think some of the issues raised in the movie are damning, but it was also clear to me as someone who follows the industry that the movie was one-sided and often omitted key facts. For example, the movie never makes mention of what they would like to happen to the whales that are currently in captivity. Also, the movie never mentions the fact that SeaWorld hasn’t taken a killer whale from the wild in decades. Either way, this issue has me torn and I continue to seek further education in the matter.
Do you plan to visit SeaWorld again or are you going to boycott them as a result of the movie Blackfish. Also, do you think Southwest should end their partnership with the amusement park chain? Let me know in the comments below!