Merlin refuses (again) to face whale show questions as the money rolls in

Merlin refuses (again) to face whale show questions as the money rolls in

Since April, over 6,300 people have called upon Merlin Entertainments, parent company of SEA LIFE aquariums to bring an end to the daily use of whales in circus-style shows in its Shanghai centre. Despite growing pressure, and despite the repeated promise of a “detailed announcement soon”, Merlin has refused to answer questions over its treatment of the whales as well as repeated requests from Freedom for Animals to be given the opportunity to share concerns in person.

In the meantime, it is estimated that the company could have raked in a potential £6,395,760* from the whale shows since the SEA LIES campaign was launched.

Whale shows

Whale shows worth £6million+

Said Freedom for Animals Director, Liz Tyson:

“Merlin’s PR department has now issued a number of bland statements about the company’s “best intentions” with regard to the whales and yet staff have pointedly refused to sit in a room with those concerned about the continuing shows and answer some very simple questions. If the intention of the company was to do what was right by the animals, its staff should be keen to share developments. The fact that the silence continues, the shows continue, and the whales remain the major selling point of the aquarium in question strongly suggests that the welfare of the animals is not a primary concern of the company”.

Freedom for Animals and thousands of members of the public have been calling for an immediate end to the shows, which see the whales forced to perform degrading tricks such as “dancing” with trainers to romantic music and playing “fetch” in front of thousands of screaming people each day. The company has also been called out on its repeated claims to be opposed to the keeping of cetaceans in captivity, whilst continuing to exploit the whales in Shanghai.

Ms Tyson added:

“The vague statements made by the company have suggested this is a complex issue. Of course we recognise that the relocation of any wild animal in captivity is no mean feat and is likely to take time. However, absolutely under the control of Merlin are the shows that are going on right now. These can be ended with immediate effect whilst a long-term solution is sought. Of course, this would lead to a significant revenue loss for the company. Until the shows end and the long term retirement plans for the whales are made public, Merlin has no right to claim to be opposed to keeping whales and dolphins captive”.

Merlin’s rejection of Freedom for Animals’ meeting request comes just days after focus has been shifted once again onto the keeping of beluga whales in captivity following the death of a whale at SeaWorld in San Diego. The SeaWorld parks have been blighted by negative publicity following the release of the groundbreaking documentary, Blackfish, which raised questions over the keeping of whales in captivity.

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*calculation based on full capacity shows each day since launch and adult ticket price.

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