The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Barbie Quits SeaWorld as Jane Goodall Says It 'Should Be Closed Down'
SeaWorld is still taking a dive two years after the release of the gripping documentary Blackfish, about the company's treatment of killer whales in captivity. Most recently, renowned conservationist and primatologist Jane Goodall has delivered a scathing statement about the theme park. Her sharp words followed Mattel's announcement that it will no longer produce SeaWorld-branded merchandise, including its popular SeaWorld Trainer Barbie dolls.
"We are disappointed in Mattel's decision to stop production of the SeaWorld Trainer Barbie," SeaWorld said in a statement. "We are proud that Mattel had chosen to honor the women—and men—at SeaWorld who dedicate their lives to the care and conservation of killer whales and other animals living in our parks. Particularly disappointing is that the decision appears to be based on complaints from PETA, an extremist organization that works to close zoos and aquariums." According to Reuters, the prominent animal rights group had approached Mattel in 2012 to stop making the doll.
Mattel has not commented on why it's ending production of the Trainer Barbie line which launched in 2012. "A number of factors go into a decision like that," spokesman Alex Clark told NBC News. "Their licensing deal expired and we've elected not to renew it."
Despite strongly denying the documentary's claims, Blackfish has spurred a powerful anti-captivity movement that involves a growing list of bold faced names, including Jane Goodall. In an interview with the Huffington Post earlier this week, Goodall said whales and dolphins should never be held in captivity and Seaworld "definitely should be closed down."
Photo credit: Shutterstock
According to figures from the nonprofit advocacy group Whale and Dolphin Conservation, as of last December, SeaWorld has held 22 orcas in its three U.S. marine parks (Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio), five of which were caught in the wild, the Huffington Post reported.
"It's not only that they're really big, highly intelligent and social animals so that the capture and confinement in itself is cruel," Goodall said, but also "they have emotions like ours."
Goodall, who is considered the world's leading expert on chimpanzees, has spoken on marine animal conservation before. Last May, she urged the Vancouver Aquarium to phase out belugas and dolphins in captivity.
“When they are contained in these tanks ... that is acoustical hell,” she told Huffington Post. “The sounds bounce back from the walls of the tank.”
SeaWorld has refuted Goodall's claims. "Jane Goodall is a respected scientist and advocate for the world’s primates, but we couldn’t disagree more with her on this," SeaWorld said in an emailed statement. "Zoos and marine mammal parks like SeaWorld allow people to experience animals in a way that is inspiring and educational."
SeaWorld also tweeted, a link to its website about noise concerns. It reads, "We have worked with independent experts in the field of bioacoustics from Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and the National Marine Mammal Foundation to measure the ambient noise in our environments (including music, etc.). Our underwater noise levels are quieter than the ambient ocean. And those above water sounds don’t transfer underwater. So, based on these studies, we are confident the sounds in our environment are not detrimental to the animal’s wellbeing."
Goodall hasn't responded yet, but this tweet from PETA was recently retweeted by the Jane Goodall Institute:
Thank you @JaneGoodallInst for speaking out against #SeaWorld! http://t.co/itbE97vHnw RT if you agree w/ her. pic.twitter.com/Z89JoLpkxB
— PETA (@peta) April 28, 2015
Last August, Southwest Airlines also ended its 26-year-long partnership with the company after Blackfish backlash.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dan Gray
- Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
- A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
- It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.
New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.
By Jeff Turrentine
Nearly 20 years have passed since the journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the term tipping point, in his best-selling book of the same name. The phrase denotes the moment that a certain idea, behavior, or practice catches on exponentially and gains widespread currency throughout a culture. Having transcended its roots in sociological theory, the tipping point is now part of our everyday vernacular. We use it in scientific contexts to describe, for instance, the climatological point of no return that we'll hit if we allow average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. But we also use it to describe everything from resistance movements to the disenchantment of hockey fans when their team is on a losing streak.
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?