Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s acclaimed, controversial documentary Blackfish is out on DVD, and a petition launched in late October to urge Southwest Airlines to end ties with SeaWorld has already collected almost 11,000 signatures.
“As a key partner with SeaWorld, Southwest Airlines promotes and funds the cruelty to orcas seen in Blackfish,” said Robin Merritt, who authored the Change.org petition. “I don’t understand why Southwest Airlines is cheering on SeaWorld as it cruelly splits up families of orcas and dangerously confines these intelligent animals to tiny tanks.” At the time of this blog, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly hadn’t replied to the Current’s request for comment.
A press release sent by Change.org state that “critics from the animal protection movement point to a recent decline in [SeaWorld’s] stock prices” and that they’re eagerly awaiting the company’s Q3 earnings report due November 13. It also states that David D'Alessandro, chairman of the board of directors of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., sold more than $1 million in company stock “earlier this month.”
On July 15, four days before the movie opened, SeaWorld released a series of eight points criticizing the film, to which the filmmakers responded.
SeaWorld has had a strong presence in San Antonio since 1988, when they opened what is now the world's largest marine-life theme park. Last December, and based on figures from the U.S. Marine Mammal Inventory database, the Current reported that 84 animals have died at SeaWorld San Antonio. Click here to read a collection of SeaWorld-related stories published by the Current through the years.