Is SeaWorld trying to buy our forgiveness by connecting with well-known and well-loved brands? First Wendy’s, now Stauffer’s (the ones who make those delicious animal crackers) have SeaWorld-themed products that encourage their customers to visit the oceanarium. The “Shamu and Friends” line of cheddar cheese crackers features smiling orca cartoons, and the box declares that “a portion of the proceeds from your purchase will help protect animals around the world through the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.”
Sounds like a good deal – buy some delicious snacks and help protect animals, but you’re also buying the idea of happy, smiling orcas in captivity. With the recent release of “Blackfish” and the numerous incidents at SeaWorld that have been in the media recently (a beached pilot whale, a dolphin who jumped out of its tank), more attention is being brought to the cruelty of captivity and awareness of the issue is increasing. Pixar even changed their planned ending of the upcoming “Finding Dory” to reflect the controversy around captivity – the animated marine animals featured in the movie will have the option to leave a captive marine park. As with Wendy’s, consumer choices matter – don’t buy the Shamu snacks, don’t encourage this partnership, and tell Stauffer’s that you don’t support captivity and they shouldn’t either.