Seaworld Step Down


Cody Vineyard, staff writer

There are many places people go to have fun: the zoo, theme parks, aquariums and many more. One place a lot of people go to is SeaWorld. Seaworld is in Orlando, Florida and is a huge tourist attraction. However, Sea Worlds attendance has been going down in the past year. This is causing quite a stir, as the famous theme park is always at the center of attention… but not always for good things.

The theme park’s attendance drop has caused the CEO of the theme park to step down from office. The CEO’s name is Joel Manby and he has been the CEO for around three years. He took the office a little more than a year after the film Blackfish was released. This film received bad reviews from the public and brought attention to Tilikum, an orca whale. The orca, who was kept in SeaWorld’s Orlando park, has been connected to three deaths, including one of a trainer. The film accused the theme park of forcing the whale into a “psychotic” state while in captivity.

Madalyn Hounshell (11) is an animal lover and absolutely does not support what Seaworld does to their animals.

“I don’t support it at all! Even if you dont like animals, why would you want innocent creatures to be hurt?” said Hounshell.

Many people, including her, do not approve of the animal abuse. Another organization who does not approve of this is, of course, PETA. PETA (short for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is an animal rights organization. PETA is always outspoken when dealing with entertainment that uses animals for their amusement. Hounshell doesn’t support this

“Absolutely not. I’m such an animal lover it breaks my heart that they do that to them,” said Hounshell.

The company, Seaworld, has stopped breeding killer whales and is starting to phase out the killer whale shows. It even opened a park in Abu Dhabi in 2016 that had no killer whales at all. After the film Blackfish, the attendance went down so the CEO, who just stepped down, said they would end that. It didn’t work. Over the past couple years, the park has stopped making as much money as it did before. Some say this is why the CEO stepped down, not because he thought it was time and that the park is going in a new direction and will continue to do under under the new CEO.

“I don’t know why he stepped down but maybe they [the CEO]  are against what Seaworld is doing against their animals,” said Hounshell.

She thinks that he tried to stop the abuse or breeding but couldn’t. He couldn’t so that’s why he’s stepping down. Since the CEO stepped down, money has continued to come in slow. People want them to change and so far, they are only doing small bits. With the loss of money comes loss of attractions, exhibits, and also, of course, attendance.

Hounshell also said that she hopes they change, in a way that’s good for the company.

“I hope people keep boycotting and Seaworld will either get closed down or dramatically change what is happening,” said Hounshell.

Many people agree. The company was down by 353,000 guests in the beginning of 2017 compared to the first of 2016. The new CEO says they will get the attendance backup to the original numbers and maybe even more. Hounshell, however, does not think this.

“I think they will get a new CEO that will continue with the animal abuse. It’s easier to continue the flow rather than having someone stop it. They wouldn’t jeopardize their company,” said Hounshell.

This new CEO is trying to change. Seaworld is opening up and has opened up many educational exhibits so they will get more money from schools, colleges, etc. They have also opened up many new rides to appeal to customer satisfaction.