SeaWorld has been the ongoing target of sharp criticism by animal rights experts and marine mammal scientists because of the company’s treatment of its captive dolphins. This has included the claim that the cetaceans’ living conditions contributed to the three deaths associated with the orca Tilikum.
While the deaths and controversy surrounding captivity have garnered most of the attention in the popular press, the way that the company uses and misuses science has been largely over-looked.
SeaWorld represents itself as a company fully committed to scientiﬁc integrity, and uses that image to advance a false picture of the nature of dolphins. In reality, SeaWorld’s defense of captivity is based on using science as no more than a marketing tool, and represents a lack of intellectual honesty. This essay identiﬁes the actions in question and describes their ethical weaknesses, thus exposing new ﬂaws in the culture of the beleaguered company.
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