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Petition Calls For Southwest Airlines To Cut Ties With SeaWorld

January 7, 2014
Photo via change.org

Photo via change.org

If you saw Blackfish, you most likely had one of two reactions. Either you felt an inconsolable sadness for all the majestic sea pandas held in captive in SeaWorld’s parks, or you wished that the Jaws-ripoff Orca, about a killer whale exacting its revenge, was real, and that Shamu and friends would rise up to terrorize their captors.

The 2013 documentary profiles SeaWorld’s cruel treatment of their killer whales, particularly the harrowing captivity of Tilikum. The male orca’s aggressive response to his confinement led to the death of three people, including seasoned trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. The film has been a bane for the marine park operator, with SeaWorld put on the defensive amidst an ever-growing outcry.

[Related: Can Captivity Kill?]

Now, in absence of pulling off an effective Free Willy, animal rights activists are setting their sites on SeaWorld’s bottom line. A petition on change.org is demanding Dallas-based Southwest Airlines to end their 25-year partnership with SeaWorld. For years, the airline has offered exclusive deals and promotions to passengers who visit one of SeaWorld’s 11 parks. Organizers plan to present 27,000 signatures to the airline at a planned protest at Dallas Love Field on Wednesday.

“Southwest Airlines has the power and the ethical responsibility to help prevent animal cruelty by ending this dangerous partnership with SeaWorld,” said Alexandria Beck, a petition signer and protest organizer.

[Related: 'Blackfish' Out on DVD; 10,000+ Urge SW Airlines to End Ties with SeaWorld]

A number of musical acts, including Willie Nelson, Barenaked Ladies and Heart, pulled out of SeaWorld’s Bands, Brews and BBQ concert series in response to a previous change.org petition, prompting SeaWorld to take out ads in newspapers across the country, including the San Antonio Express-News, lambasting the film that is causing it so much trouble.

Organizers are about 7,000 signatures short of their Wednesday goal. Blackfish is currently streaming on Netflix.

  • Sandy B

    Wow. That movie is a propaganda piece for those who believe that no animal should be under human care. One of two reactions? How about the reaction that the film is a biased piece of garbage? No organization cares more for their animals or cares more about the environment than Sea World. Why don’t you visit the park, see those animals first hand, and REALLY learn what their daily life is like instead of parroting someone elses agenda? Or better yet, why don’t you take a look at that ocean that you so desperately want to subject these animals to? Instead of bashing the company that made you care about these animals in the first place, why don’t you make some conservation efforts and care about our environment? What’s truly depressing is the garbage of an ocean that wild marine animals are subject to. It’s so sad how people have been sucked into this nonsense. And it’s shameful that after all this company has done for the local community of San Antonio that the SA Current would produce this biased article.

  • Fabian

    I notice a sense of ethnocentrism in your response, Sandy. Who really knows what it’s like to be an Orca but Orca’s themselves. Do you believe human beings are ultimate and supreme in our planetary ecology? You seem to believe we know what is good for other living creatures. What if someone came to your home and simply took you and locked you in a cell stating it would be for your own good to live a life of confinement, that it would be irrefutably best for you than to experience this “harsh” little world? Even as a kid I’ve been at odds at how humans treat other living things including our very planet. I’ve visited captivity parks as a child (mostly in San Antonio) and I wouldn’t want to live there. Would you? Rows of cages. Animals seemingly apathetic about life. Those that swim do so in circular patterns within their enclosures. Those that fly will never know what it’s like to soar the vast countryside. A life of captivity is probably worse than animals subjected to human consumption. At least they’re killed in an untimely manner. Those Orcas have to live their lives in enclosures in order to entertain us until they eventually die. You say what you do because you’re opportunities are endless. It comes down to basic living rights. You are able to move about as you please in our everyday world. Some living creatures simply do not have that luxury and we are responsible for it.

    What has Sea World done for our community? Where did you read that we’re doing the Orcas a favor after millions of years of their own evolution living out in the oceans without so much of a splint of human interference?

    I don’t believe the SA Current has produced a biased article, I didn’t find any key words reflecting it’s appeal for either side. To me the article was simply an update to what’s been going on lately.

  • Wineguy999

    Just curious, Sandy…did you expect good journalism from the Current? Move along, nothing to see here.

  • AnimuX

    People who support SeaWorld tend to pick up this dismissive attitude and arbitrarily declare ‘Blackfish’ is propaganda. However, the creator of the film did not set out to create a piece of activism and stated so publicly. Apparently there was much more damning video that could have been included in the film but was left out in order to avoid being a ‘propaganda piece’.

    Then, of course, there is the fact that former trainers from SeaWorld and other aquariums have come forward to talk about their experiences and the conditions in the parks — as well as scientists — and even OSHA investigators. Not to mention the fact that human beings have been injured and killed by orcas in captivity which is really the point of the documentary film. What killed those people, why did it happen, where and when (or how often), and what’s being done about it? That is what ‘Blackfish’ covers in great detail.

    Unfortunately, despite all of the evidence presented, some people choose to simply ignore it all. SeaWorld is not a charity. There is a reason the company does not tell the public just how many orcas and dolphins have died in captivity. For the same reason the company blamed the victims in human deaths linked to the same animal — Tilikum — which is featured in the documentary film.

  • phoenixlake

    All the USA population has been manipulated and bought off by Sea World Entertainment. Sandy B some of us humans are humane. We do not believe it is right to keep whales and dolphins doing tricks until they die.Sea World accomplished this with favorable influence bought and paid for to political parties and government officials named here in this document report totaling $3,920,000
    http://influenceexplorer.com/organization/seaworld-parks-entertainment/0cc0ce4b70b24ebca2535ac1da0c79cb
    after you follow the money trail to government offices go to the cemetery and look at the dead whales you killed with your ticket stubs.
    http://www.orcahome.de/orcadead.htm

  • disqus_ps03Ko1nqj

    To Sandy B…looks like you picked the wrong place to spread the SW propaganda b— shit. Wake up!

  • disqus_ps03Ko1nqj

    Your comment is beyond stupid, it’s ignorant, to say the least. ‘biased piece of garbage’…hum, does the word FACT mean anything to you, little girl? Look outside of their brilliant PR machine and see for yourself. ‘It’s so sad how people have been sucked into this nonsense’. What’s even more sad, is how SW sucked you in! Do you know that SW has never paid 1 dime in taxes? Do you know that with the billions of dollars they make, they ‘generously’ donate roughly 1% to rehab? Do you know that more Orcas have died in SW’s ‘care’ than are alive in their parks today? Those of us that are against captivity, don’t need to parrot anyone. We have learned, watched & listened…SW is tanking, stocks are down & SW is back-pedaling themselves into bankrupsy. Do your self and your pro-cap buddies a favor. GO AWAY. You’ve lost the argument, and this isn’t going away anytime soon. UNTIL THE TANKS ARE EMPTY~~~~~we aren’t going anywhere.

  • kym foster

    How ridiculous are these comments from Sandy B. The film you slate IS from people who worked at SW you silly girl. Of course PEOPLE have been there, however do you think these crimes to marine life have been exposed? Certainly not through a crystal ball!!!! and still today people are visiting SW’s the World over documenting cruelty and neglect as it happens. The truth unfortunately hurts, but not as much as the slaves confined to these hell holes.

  • disqus_ps03Ko1nqj

    Right Kym! Sandy B is dillusional.

  • phoenixlake

    Question; How long must the Whales and Dolphins work at Sea World Entertainment before they get a break and retirement? Legitimate question 10,20,30,40 years? How Long? Ask Sea World How Long? until death?
    The other thing You can do is BEG FOR MERCY for the whales and dolphins. Ask Sea World to show MERCY for using these animals for decades and keeping them starving and giving them dead frozen fish as a reward. These animals have been in solitary confinement cement prisons for decades, when you buy a ticket, you keep them in their prisons and nothing changes.
    Where is any concerned humane response? How do we allow Sea World to continue? The time has come to stop holding whales and dolphins prisoners for money.