ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Finally bowing to years of public pressure, SeaWorld announced Thursday that it will immediately stop breeding killer whales and making them perform crowd-pleasing tricks at its theme parks.
SeaWorld’s remaining killer whales, or orcas, will still be on display, but in “new, inspiring natural orca encounters,” rather than theatrical programs, the company said.
Attendance at SeaWorld’s parks dropped after the 2013 release of the documentary “Blackfish,” which was highly critical of the orca program. SeaWorld reported a fourth-quarter loss of $11 million in February.
“Society’s attitudes have shifted,” said Joel Manby, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. during a telephone news conference. “It wasn’t worth fighting that.”