Renowned Travel Writer Apologizes For Past Support of SeaWorld

For years, Arthur Frommer, a well-known budget travel writer, has promoted SeaWorld theme parks, particularly the one in Orlando. Not long ago, Frommer even said that, despite the death of Dawn Brancheau–the trainer who was attacked by a captive orca who had been involved in two other deaths–he would still recommend SeaWorld as a tourist attraction. But, recently, after receiving a letter from PETA’s Debbie Leahy, an expert on captive animal issues, Frommer acknowleged that he had been heedless of the treatment of captive marine  mammals, saying “I am ashamed. I apologize for my former statements and I will no long recommend that tourists patronize the various SeaWold parks.”

His admission will surely propmt others, tourists and travel writers alike, to rethink their support of SeaWorld, helping to close the deadly theme park once and for all. As Leahy pointed out in her letter to Frommer, twenty-one orcas died in U.S. SeaWorld facilities between 1986 and 2008, and not one died of old age. They died from severe trauma, intestinal gangrene, acute hemorrhagic pneumonia, pulmonary abscesses, chronic kidney disease, chronic cardiovascular failure, septicemia, and influenza. SeaWorld parks have also been responsible for the deaths of numerous dolphins, including three who died last year at SeaWorld Discovery Cove in less than three weeks time.

Orcas and dolphins may swim up to 100 miles a day in the ocean, but in captivity, most are kept in 60-foot tanks.  The chlorine  and other harsh chemicals used to keep the tanks clean causes some dolphins to go blind and even  makes their skin peel off.  Captive marine mammals often develop ulcers from the stress of being gawked at for long periods of time each day. And because dolphins navigate by echolocation–bouncing sonar waves off other objects to determine shape, density, distance, and location–the reverberations from their own sonar bouncing off the tank walls drives some dolphins insane.  

Not to be forgotten, the sea lions and other animals imprisoned at SeaWorld and other marine parks are confined far from their natural homes and colonies, and are also forced to do tricks simply for human amusement.

I’m ashamed to say that I visited SeaWorld and other marine parks and aquariums when I was younger, as many of you likely did too.  I may have gone under the pretense of education, but, the truth was, I really wanted to have fun, not learn how to help marine mammals. I wouldn’t have learned that anyway. As Debbie Leahy says, a true appreciation of wildlife cannot come from looking at bored, frustrated animals trapped in chemically treated tanks, with every aspect of their existence regulated.  

I can’t change the past, but I can admit, as Frommer has done, that I was  once heedless of the treatment of captive marine animals, and encourage others never to patronize SeaWorld or other theme parks that exploit animals.

I’m looking forward to reading your comments below about Frommer’s blog, but please also take a moment to tell him what you think of his compassionate and responsible action. Please also send a message to SeaWorld officials, asking them to be big enough to admit that they’ve been wrong to keep marine mammals in tiny chlorine pools.

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Adam Gill
Adam Gill3 years ago

People promote the misuse of creatures dealing with locations like zoos, fish tanks,circuses,bullfight.Have fun at the cost of suffering creatures.

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Carmen Bouwhuis Jansen

I'm so against animal abuse !!!!

Flexi T.
Flexi T.4 years ago

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Kay C.
Kay C.5 years ago

Do people ever stop to think that the dolphin's whole family was murdered and the baby dolphin is now caged, starved and force to do stupid trick just to get we can get a laugh.

Janine C.
Janine C.5 years ago

Buy a copy of "The Cove" and lend it to others; enlighten them. Hertz now owns Sea World. What companies does Hertz own besides Sea World? Let's continue the boycott of Sea World and let's boycott any of its sister companies. And spread the word to friends with young children who may want to visit Sea World. I'm sure they would be mortified to know exactly how much the animals suffer; and would discontinue their patronage of Sea World. I used to get stuck taking my relatives from Spain to Sea World for years and years. I flat out refuse now. Also trust me on this one. NO ONE is educated by watching these poor animals do tricks. That's like saying a carnival man who's pet chicken can peck out Mary Had a Little Lamb educates the crowds on this fowl species. Come on!!!

Bert D.
BJ D.5 years ago

As a former regular at Sea World who stopped visiting the parks back in the 90's, I understand all-too-well the complexities of the situation. Many of the people who visit the parks are animal lovers who don't realize that they are paying to support an industry that places profit above animal welfare. I truly hope that the marine parks like Sea World can come up with better ways to amuse people and turn a profit, while abandoning their captive-for-entertainment marine mammal programs.

Lindsay J.
Lindsay J.5 years ago

I had no idea. This is a great article and definitely makes me my ideas about Sea World.

'Neith I.
'Neith I.5 years ago

Err considering this is coming from PETA, I dont trust it one bit. Arnt PETA also the ones that take dogs in but then euthanize all of them because they think no one should be allowed to have pets, even when properly cared for. And of course, let's just totally ignore that Sea World does good, such as taking in animals that are injured and stuff. Oh, and cleans oil off wild animals.

Ginette B.
Ginette B.5 years ago

Bonjour à tou Vive la France et je boycoot également le fameux triste Parc de la MER à ANTIBES ==== MARINELAND je dis Fuck
Vive MYLENE FARMER avec son album Bleu Noir le 06/12/2010 .... Vive l'amour !!!!!!
Je dis FUCK aux assassins de cette espèces qui sont les V comme Visiteurs ... Le français qui liront cela seront concernés = je vous love Tata ginette

Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

How were many of us to know, many people such as myself as well as Arthur Frommer, love dolphins just as the visitors of Seaworld. We were not aware of the harm being done to these mammals. Even Ric and the original trainer had no idea when he got into training of 'Flipper' dolphins ... they were dolphin lovers themselves. It was only over time when it came to light that captivity was harmful to our wild mammals. Many of the people who visit Seaworld are animal lovers and lovers of dolphins. It wasn't until the 'Cove' documentary and FB that I became wise to the harm being done to many of our animals. I would guess Seaworld probably didn't know when they opened its doors in 1974 or so .. as I stated it is the recent awareness of the harm to wild animals in captivity. I am sure Seaworld is in a predicament that they are having big meetings over as to ways to find another safe attraction to bring in the tourism dollars ~ at least this is what I would hope. Perhaps they should make Seaworld a rescue Center!