If the mascot is smiling, you know it's morally okay.
On November 9, Sea World San Diego announced its plan to phase out its famous killer whale shows, following years of protests, legal setbacks, and trainer swallowings. Instead, the park will feature an orca-themed exhibit, because, in the words of SeaWorld Chairman Joe Kidby, "Children love a good exhibit."
In addition, the park announced plans to either build or buy a hotel-resort near its current Mission Bay location, because "while children love a good exhibit, parents love a comfortable bed and cable TV within walking distance, plus a minibar and maybe a decent restaurant. And while we're on the subject of restaurants, I'd like to add that we're also planning to open San Diego's first underwater dining establishment as part of the resort complex. For now, we're calling it Dorsal, a name that harkens back to our legendary mascot's most famous fin and at the same time points straight up toward our commitment to a brighter future."
Kidby noted that while that future would not include live orcas, "the tradition of killer whales at SeaWorld has a surprise ending, one we think our supporters will appreciate. For generations, SeaWorld patrons have feasted their eyes on Shamu & Co. Now, for an extremely limited time, a select few will have an opportunity to feast their bellies, as well. Trust me when I tell you that our killer whale steak is a killer whale steak."
While the resort and restaurant have not yet been officially approved by the California Coastal Commission, reservations are already up for auction at seaworld.com/dineonshamu, with bids for the first Friday night already exceeding $25,000. "And the best part is, it's ethical," concludes Kidby. It's not like we could release these whales back into the open ocean. They'd be helpless and disoriented, and probably wind up eaten or beached within days. That's just cruel. This way, they get to bring joy and happiness to visitors from all over the world, just as they've done for over 50 years."