- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2018

SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby on Monday reportedly ripped the animal rights activists who continue to target his company and its live killer whale shows as “small-minded” and ignorant.

Mr. Manby told the ICR Conference in Orlando that the backlash against SeaWorld, which was brought to a head following the 2013 release of the critically acclaimed documentary “Blackfish,” has been driven by “lies” and people lacking in “critical thinking,” Business Insider reported.

“One hundred years from now, people are going to be begging for zoos and aquariums to take the animals from the wild because the extinction rate is so high,” Mr. Manby reportedly said.

“Those are the issues we should be talking about, not 29 whales at SeaWorld that have been born at SeaWorld and have lived there their entire life and cannot be released to the wild because they would die,” he added. “So, I get frustrated with the small-minded arguments from activists that really don’t know what they’re talking about.”

After facing years of criticism for the alleged mistreatment of animals, SeaWorld announced in 2016 that it was terminating its in-park Orca breeding program and phasing out its live killer whale shows.

However, Mr. Manby, who took over as head of the company in 2015, said the parks have enough whales now to continue the theatrical shows for decades to come.

“We will still have the whales for 50 years,” he said, Business Insider reported. “They live a long time. This is a decision that is for the immediate. But, we get to keep the whales and have the experience, yet have some relief from a legislative standpoint.”

Mr. Manby reportedly vowed that SeaWorld would not be restarting its breeding program, at least in his “human lifetime.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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