(The first part of my book review can be read at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/230121725 )
HSUS is not calling for a blanket closure of facilities that hold killer whales, but rather a gradual phase-out over the next few decades. In other words, stop breeding these human-dependant killer whales, take the best care possible of those already in existence, and let their numbers decrease naturally over the years by attrition. Since most of the orcas lack survival skills and may have other health problems such as ground-down teeth caused by chewing on their tanks, releasing them into total freedom isn’t possible. However, some whales could be possibly rehomed into more natural sea pens that could be managed by SeaWorld—Kirby even offers up a plan for the park to repurpose itself and still make money from a whale-loving public.
The shame about <i>Death at SeaWorld</i> is that, like so many other books like it, it won’t be read by the very people who need this information most. Imagine the average SeaWorld attendees—families with young children, scraping together the annual family vacation budget to visit a popular theme park. They feel they’re really doing something special for their family. They’re most likely not going to have the time or incentive to pluck this bricklike book off the library bookstore shelves—that’s all there is to it. How can this information be presented in a more digestible form for the folks who keep marine mammal theme parks in business?