Bindi Irwin, the fifteen-year-old daughter of the late Steve Irwin, recently appeared on the US television program, Good Morning America, with her mother, Teri, and brother, Robert, to announce that she has agreed to enter into a partnership with SeaWorld theme parks with the intent of encouraging “kids to change the world.”
Ever since the release of the award-winning film documentary Blackfish, which probed the treatment of killer whales at the company’s parks, SeaWorld’s reputation has been under serious attack by celebrities, animal activists, and the media. In an effort to regain their status as a popular marine life entertainment venue, they have hired Irwin as a spokesperson. It is a clever tactic on their part, as youth are often very impressionable, and look up to celebrities their own age as role models.
“I’m so excited to be carrying on in Dad’s footsteps and making sure that everything he worked so hard for continues for the generations to come,” said Bindi. The American animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), can understand why Bindi is so thrilled, but does not share her enthusiasm: “The Irwin family has been exploiting animals for years, so it comes as no surprise that Bindi has agreed to become SeaWorld’s latest shill.”
Irwin’s father claimed that in his television show, The Crocodile Hunter, he was trying to educate the world about the plight of wildlife, and the importance of protecting animals. His approach to education, was to remove animals from their natural habitat, hold them in captivity, haul them to television studios, and use all sorts of paraphernalia to subdue them. He even went so far as to fuel the exotic-animal trade, by suggesting that some of the animals can be kept as pets.
“We are proud to partner with Bindi Irwin in a program that couples the world’s most incredible young conservationist with the passionate wildlife experts at SeaWorld,” said SeaWorld’s spokesperson, Becca Bides. “SeaWorld has been a global leader in education, conservation and animal care for 50 years.We are excited to join forces with Bindi as we continue to educate and encourage kids to take part in helping to save wildlife.”
Having someone like Irwin represent them in talk-show appearances “is just a flimsy last-ditch effort by an amusement park hoping to make a buck,” said PETA. “But plastering her face on SeaWorld’s website won’t cover up the fact that orcas, dolphins, and other animals are suffering in SeaWorld’s tiny tanks after being ripped from their families.”
“We are so thrilled to finally be joining SeaWorld on a brand new initiative called Generation Nature, which is all about encouraging kids to get involved and become game changers for wildlife and wild places,” Irwin said.
It is interesting, that during the talk show, the documentary Blackfish, nor the controversy that revolves around the dangers of keeping marine mammals in captivity, was never mentioned.
There are a number of petitions that have been circulating, to encourage Irwin to withdraw from her partnership with SeaWorld. This one in particular, not only opposes holding marine life captive, but goes to the very root of where the barbaric treatment of these marine mammals begins. Oppose the Taiji dolphin hunt, and encourage Irwin not to promote it, by signing this petition.