Practical Issues > Animals Used for Entertainment
Heart's Ann Wilson: 'What Sea World Does is Slavery'

January 23. 2014

full story, comments, video:

The Wilson sisters explain why the band backed out of their Sea World gig.

short excerpt:

Ann Wilson: "Seeing Blackfish just really opened our eyes to a lot of really horrific truths about how Sea World treats their orcas. It really broke my heart and I just couldn't see signing my name to that. We hate to disappoint people who go to hear our music, but this was a larger issue.

Before seeing the movie, I always imagined the orcas got to live in a big extended oceanic area when they weren't performing, but they live in a steel swimming pool and it basically drives them insane. Not to mention that somebody died. It's almost Disney-esque in a really tragic way. Again, we just couldn't go make a bunch of money from them and sign our names and underline it.

It reminds me of back in the 1980s when we'd get these incredible, stupid money offers to come to South Africa and play Sun City. The people that did that - like Rod Stewart - slid in there, kept their eyes shut, played their songs and took the money. Our decision here was a little easier since all the facts were in the open.

As the documentary pointed out, orca's brains have a whole emotional section that ours don't even have. It's a whole social/emotional section and it tends to give them a real unified feeling among themselves. When mothers are separated from their young, they go insane. The genders stay apart in the wild and they have a matriarchal society, but Sea World just throws the two genders together.

Nancy and I didn't even originally realize the concert was at Sea World. We thought it was just somewhere in Orlando. I'm not making an excuse, but we just weren't paying attention to details. I've never been to Sea World. I've seen the photos of people getting splashed and it looks fun, but when you look underneath you see the dark side. What they do is slavery, plain and simple. It's like people saying, 'Okay, let's go to Africa and bring a bunch of people back here.' There's never any way to make that okay. Granted, this is a different species, but it still has a lot of similarities."

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