SeaWorld Entertainment just launched a new advertising campaign highlighting the company's leadership in the care of killer whales and contributions to protect whales both in human care and in the wild. This new campaign will emphasize SeaWorld's 50-year commitment to continuous evolution (including its recent announcement of new killer whale habitats) while setting the record straight on false accusations by activists who oppose animals in zoological settings.
"There's been a lot of misinformation and even lies spread about SeaWorld, and we recognize that it has caused some people to have questions about the welfare of killer whales in human care," said David D'Alessandro, Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. "This long-term campaign will address those questions head on. We want to provide the facts, so people can make up their own minds on this important issue."
The print advertisements will feature SeaWorld veterinarians, researchers and other members of the company's team of 1,500 animal care experts. In their words and reflecting on their experiences, they will explain how the company cares for its killer whales, while also refuting the claims of animal rights activists. The ads will also highlight SeaWorld's latest initiatives to better understand, care for and protect killer whales now and in the future, including the company's commitment of $10 million in matching funds to study endangered killer whales in the wild. The print advertisements will run in publications nationwide beginning today with television advertisements to follow.
The digital component of the campaign seeks to open a conversation with the public to address concerns and questions. New online videos feature SeaWorld employees answering some of the most common questions about SeaWorld today and offering viewers a behind-the-scenes look at animal care in the parks. AskSeaWorld.com provides the public with the opportunity to ask questions directly via Twitter with the company's responses centrally housed in one online location.
PETA and other animal activist groups have long targeted SeaWorld and other zoological institutions as part of a larger agenda to close zoos and aquariums and even limit pet ownership and other forms of human-animal engagement. In the past two years, PETA has issued more than 110 press releases about SeaWorld, filled with inaccuracies about the company's animal care. This campaign will set the record straight and ensure that the public has access to the facts about the company.
For example, the first ad in the campaign titled, "Fact: Whales live as long at SeaWorld," addresses the misconceptions around killer whale lifespans at SeaWorld parks from the perspective of the company's head veterinarian, Dr. Chris Dold.
The ad reads: "You might have heard attacks from PETA saying our killer whales live only a fraction as long as whales in the wild. They say, 'In captivity, orcas' average life span plummets to just nine years.' There's no other way to say it…PETA is not giving you the facts."
The ad cites an Associated Press report that concluded that killer whales born at SeaWorld parks have "an average life expectancy of 46 years," and an independent study from Dr. Douglas DeMaster, of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, who told the Wall Street Journal, "Survival in the wild is comparable to survival in captivity." The ad is complemented by a digital video that takes viewers behind the scenes to learn more about the independent research and the daily care of SeaWorld's killer whales.
For more information on the campaign, please visit www.seaworldcares.com.