Young people are jumping on the "Blackfish" bandwagon and demanding that their schools and universities follow suit.
The latest student to demand a SeaWorld boycott comes from Michigan State University, which offers a biology course that allows students to study at SeaWorld's Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. Last Thursday, Rachel Fradette, an undergraduate member of the class of 2018, published an op-ed in the university's newspaper, The State News, demanding that the school cut ties with the park:
I find it extremely disheartening that MSU, a world renowned veterinary college, would choose to participate in any type of partnership with such a morally repugnant place...SeaWorld is hopefully on its way out and MSU should realize the injustice happening there. Someday soon my school will consider their mistake of association with SeaWorld and end the study away program replacing it with a well-structured pro-animal rights program.
The story, which is currently the site's most popular piece, drew the attention of former SeaWorld trainers who appeared in the film "Blackfish." Former orca trainer Jeffrey Ventre commented:
Institutions of higher learning should not be affiliated with sea circuses that display large-brained oceanic predators for human amusement & profit.
Fradette isn't the first student to criticize SeaWorld. Last October, an eighth-grader in Colorado convinced her entire school to skip a field trip to the marine park. Earlier in the year, a San Diego high schooler gained national attention when he protested his school's prom because it was held at SeaWorld.
It's no surprise that more people are turning their backs on orca captivity. By clinging to an outdated practice, SeaWorld has incurred the kiss of death from the younger generation: The park's become not only unpopular but also decisively, undeniably uncool.