SeaWorld Cutting 320 Jobs
On Tuesday SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. announced 320 job cuts across its 12-park company.
In the statement released by the company to multiple sources the company said the goal is to eliminate costs and improve the company’s operations. The changes being made will hopefully result in long-term success.
The announcement comes after SeaWorld has seen a steady decline in attendance after being hit by campaigns of animal rights activists.
In 2011 PETA, three marine-mammal experts and two former SeaWorld trainers filed a suit saying five wild-caught orcas were being forced to perform at SeaWorld parks and were being held slave, in violation of the 13th Amendment. The filing was the first ever to seek the extension of constitutional rights to nonhuman animals.
Then SeaWorld got hit even harder in 2013 with the release of the documentary Blackfish. After the release, stars such as Willie Nelson and Martina McBride canceled concerts that were scheduled at SeaWorld. Schools began canceling field trips and the overall attendance started dropping. In the film, SeaWorld’s capturing of young orcas from their families in the wild was spotlighted. The film also captures the day to day life of the orcas while in confinement at the park in tiny tanks, and how the lifestyle led to the frustration of orca Tilikum- “who has worn his teeth to the nubs from chewing on the underwater bars of his cement prison”- to kill three humans. PETA says no orca in the wild has ever hurt a human.
The release of Blackfish is when attendance took the biggest hit. Seven of the highest-ranking executives within the company have stepped down amid hundreds of layoffs. Dozens of corporate partners also cut ties with SeaWorld.
This past year SeaWorld got faced with more bad news. Due to plunging stock and impending state and federal legislation to ban orca breeding, the company was forced to end its sordid orca-breeding program. PETA cites the company’s CEO as saying, “the data and trends showed it was either a SeaWorld without whales or a world without SeaWorld.”
But even with the breeding program brought to a halt that still left 29 orcas held captive at the SeaWorld park.
Now the company hopes with 320 cut jobs the park will be able to save itself and find success in the future.
The company has parks in Florida, Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Quotes and stats taken from the PETA website.