Theme park chain SeaWorld is now advertizing vegan food and is set to sell it at its upcoming festival.
SeaWorld Orlando just announced details for its Seven Seas Food Festival, a yearly event held by the company that brings together various bands and cuisines.
According to its website, this year’s event will include vegan fare like avocado corn tostadas, nutty butter protein bars, and animal-free alcoholic beverages. Even the popular plant-based meat brand Impossible Foods is making an appearance, in the form of Impossible Meat sliders.
The decision to include vegan food may surprise some considering the company profits from the exploitation of marine animals.
The Controversy Surrounding SeaWorld
A growing number of people are choosing to boycott SeaWorld for ethical reasons; specifically, the theme park’s disregard for animal welfare.
SeaWorld has been criticized for its negligence toward animals that includes holding them in enclosures too small for their needs, keeping them isolated from other animals, neglecting to provide them with medical care, and forcing them to perform tricks for human entertainment. Animals at SeaWorld parks often display signs of severe stress like swimming in tiny, repetitive circles and biting cage walls.
Countless animals have died under the care of SeaWorld, many prematurely and due to avoidable causes – like the three-month-old orca “Kyara,” as well as other whales, penguins, polar bears, dolphins, and sharks.
SeaWorld’s reputation was especially uprooted by the release of “Blackfish,” a 2013 documentary that told the story of Tilikum, a captive killer whale who killed three people whilst he was kept at SeaWorld.
Following the release of the film, SeaWorld’s sales fell by $175.9 million. Several organizations, including the Animal Welfare Insitute and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, filed a lawsuit over SeaWorld’s lack of orca necropsy reports, which are meant to detail the cause of death of the animals. Additionally, the resort park was forced to pay $5 million after it was said that SeaWorld had misled its investors by downplaying the impact that “Blackfish” had on its attendance rates and revenue.
The exposure of the theme park’s practices has led multiple organizations to cut ties with SeaWorld, such as travel giant Thomas Cook, automotive club AAA Arizona, and major airlines WestJet and Air Canada.
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