Update: May 23, 2019
SeaWorld Orlando in Florida has announced orca Kayla’s cause of death. According to the park, the 42nd orca to die on the company’s watch succumbed to “lung disease.” But this announcement tells the public virtually nothing. Captive orcas are susceptible to pneumonia, systemic infections, and a host of other health conditions because of chronic stress. Without more information, it’s impossible to determine why she died.
What we know is that Kayla was born in captivity, torn away from her mother before she was 3 years old, hauled from park to park, and forced to endure artificial insemination. Then she miscarried one baby and lost another—and at just 30, she died well before reaching the life expectancy of orcas in nature, who aren’t condemned to SeaWorld’s barren tanks.
Instead of being transparent, SeaWorld clouds the waters, making data available only to select segments of the scientific community. The company has repeatedly rejected calls to provide the public with information so that truly independent experts can assess it.
The only thing to learn from the practice of keeping orcas captive is that they are sensitive, intelligent animals who shouldn’t be confined for entertainment.
Originally posted on January 28, 2019:
The dead bodies at SeaWorld are stacking up. Today, 30-year-old Kayla became the 42nd orca to die on the abusement park’s watch.
Kayla was forced to move around the country from park to park & heartbreakingly lost babies over the years pic.twitter.com/DClMYXJmKg
— PETA (@peta) January 28, 2019
Kayla had been part of SeaWorld’s captive-breeding program—a program that PETA and countless others campaigned against for years before successfully stopping. She was born at SeaWorld San Antonio in 1988. When she was not yet 3 years old, she was torn away from her mother and moved to SeaWorld Ohio (which has since been shut down). She was later moved back to SeaWorld San Antonio, where she gave birth to Halyn. But she rejected her calf, as orcas in captivity have often been known to do. In 2006, Kayla was moved one last time: to SeaWorld Orlando in Florida. In 2008, 2-year-old Halyn died at the San Antonio park.
SeaWorld has zero respect for the animals it imprisons.
The company confines these animals to tiny enclosures, and it continues to deny them everything that they need to have a high quality of life. It has—quite unsuccessfully—prioritized profit over the welfare of the animals at its parks. The remaining marine mammals must be sent to seaside sanctuaries before they—like Kayla and the 41 orcas before her—die in their tanks.
It’s too late for Kayla, but SeaWorld can still do the right thing.
Today, caring people don’t support SeaWorld’s cruel animal prisons. If the park truly wants to modernize its business and salvage its reputation, it needs to stop exploiting living beings. Help us help these animals. They deserve to enjoy some semblance of the natural life that they’ve been denied for so long. Click below to urge the company to allow this to happen.
Please, never buy a ticket to SeaWorld or support the company in any other way. Pass the message along: