When I was a kid, a trip to Marineland was considered the ideal family vacation. My sister and I, and lots of other children our age, knew the theme park’s commercial jingle off by heart.
But today, after the recent death of its founder, there are questions about the future of the aquatic theme park, and Marineland seems very much like an outdated concept. Why should whales, dolphins and other sea creatures be kept in captivity in a very small environment just so that thousands of people can flock to see them and create profits for a private company? The ground-breaking documentary Blackfish revealed just how harmful that is to the animals, and how dangerous it is to some of their handlers.
People of all ages, especially children, love to see wild animals. And probably many careers in marine biology were inspired by a visit to Marineland or Sea World. But that’s not enough justification for the harms caused by captivity. It’s time for us to stop capturing animals and putting them on display for our enjoyment.