Most of us have been to SeaWorld, and we didn’t need to see "Blackfish" to know that something wasn’t right. Seeing colossal marine mammals confined to swimming pools will get your kids excited yet also leaves an undeniable pang of guilt in your stomach. Luckily, there are ways that you can enjoy the wonders nature without exploiting animals in the process...
Research the Shows
Before you go taking your picture with a bottlenose dolphin gently kissing your cheek, look it up online. Read other travelers’ posts - don’t just rely on the company’s website, which assures the public that the animals all really enjoy entertaining humans. Previous visitors will tell you that, "The tigers at the temple seemed sedated," for instance. Any sketchy criticism should be considered a huge red flag. Better still - just avoid all shows which involve animal captivity!
Submission and Tricks are Unnatural
We’ve all gasped in enthusiasm as orcas do back flips out of the water. It’s impossible to say that the spectacle isn’t at least slightly intriguing. But the fact is that these animals weren’t meant to be performers. Sure, watching dolphins play with hula-hoops and witnessing elephants shoot basketballs is fun, but isn’t the allure merely seeing these animals? Since when was watching a ferocious lion not enough, so much so that we had to see a man put his head inside its mouth? Whenever cheap tricks are employed, you can usually bet that the animals performing them aren’t lavishly pampered after the show. Peta has some videos on the cruelty behind the scenes at these shows that will no doubt steer you away from future circuses - look out for devices used to restrain the animals, as these are a telltale sign that something is wrong.