PETA are less than palatable or accurate when it comes to putting across their arguments, however - while Seaworld have made amendments to their operations - it still stands that their past reputation for maintaining ethical standards and welfare practices is not exactly glowing! Generally, there is also continued disagreement among wildlife professionals as to whether current standards and practices in place are adequate. Furthermore, welfare and standards aside, there are valid ethical arguments that exist which oppose unnecessary use of animals for entertainment.
I agree with you on PETA, however there is little truth in the rest of the post.
SeaWorld's interim CEO says that more emphasis, not less, should be placed on the park's animal experiences and I couldn't agree more.
There is a very clear consensus amongst the zoological and animal welfare community that the care provided at SeaWorld is of a good standard, the AZA states that they are "meeting or exceeding" the highest levels of animal care in the world and all 3 SeaWorld parks were recently humane certified by the American Humane Association. Also, SeaWorld works with respected parter organisations including WWF and the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
SeaWorld's track record of animal welfare in the last two decades is among the best you will find anywhere. Mistakes have been made much further in the past, but society has changed and SeaWorld have changed with it. Other than flat out lies, the problem with PETA funded propaganda such as the movie Blackfish is that they present happenings from 40-50 years ago as if they still happen today, which is far from the truth.
I am proud to associate myself with a company that does so much good for animals (31,000 rescues and counting) and whose parks help to inspire kids from around the world through the power of entertainment and up-close hands on encounters to learn more about animals as I was inspired when I first visited.
I'll be back at SeaWorld Texas doing work experience this summer, can't wait!
As for the Q1 results, they are encouraging and I remain cautiously optimistic. I understand that San Diego in particular has had a major rebound this year.