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Anheuser-Busch's Sea World park counters charge it mistreats whales.

In recent weeks, environmental and animal rights groups have kicked off a vocal campaign to secure the release of a whale held at Sea World park. The groups have launched an advertising campaign to bolster their efforts, claiming that the whale in question, one "Corky," is ill, and should be released to its native habitat. These claims were recently given a national airing in a full-page advertisement in the New York Times, an ad that also cast aspersions on Sea World's past record in caring for its cetacean residents.

Sea World, a division of Busch Entertainment Corporation, has released a statement in rebuttal, reporting that, "Within the last year, groups of independent marine mammal experts from all over the world have studied the question of releasing long-term zoological killer whales like Corky, and each one has concluded that such projects would be ill-advised."

Sea World said that it would be difficult for Corky to readapt to life in the open sea. "It is highly questionable whether Corky and her immune system could meet the challenges of life in the open ocean," the statement said, "including pollution, parasites, diseases, hunger, hunting, humans and other threats."

Sea World went on to counter each of the advertisement's assertions in detail. While the ad claimed that "captive killer whales have far shorter lives in captivity, and Corky's mother is likely still alive." Sea World reported that the life spans of dolphins and killer whales in marine parks are comparable to those in the wild, and noted that "evidence that Corky's mother is still alive is sketchy at best."

In response to the ad's assertion that too many killer whales had died at Sea World, the park said that "more than two-thirds of Sea World's killer whale deaths were related to old age, and illnesses or injuries that the animals sustained before coming to Sea World." The park said that the whales in question would not have lived any longer in the wild than they would at Sea World.

The marine park emphasized that Sea World's killer whales receive "top quality medical care," saying that the facilities and care at Sea World far exceed the standards set by government regulatory agencies.

In their closing statement, Sea World said, "The proposal to release Corky is based on emotion rather than science. As other marine scientists from around the world have concurred, subjecting Corky to such an experiment would most likely result in untimely death. She is far better off at Sea World than she would be participating in an ill-conceived and unacceptably risky experiment."
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Title Annotation:Busch Entertainment Corp. Sea World Division
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:May 10, 1993
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