AZA News Releases

An Open Letter to the Producers of the CBS “Whistleblower” Program

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Later this evening, CBS “Whistleblower” will air a show titled “SeaWorld: A Case Against Captivity.” The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) contacted the show’s producer and offered to present a counter viewpoint to those presented in the program. The offer was declined. In response, AZA offers the following open letter to the producers at CBS from Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the AZA:

Mr. Ted Eccles
Producer, CBS Whistleblower
524 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

Dear Mr. Eccles:

On behalf of the accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), including SeaWorld, I am writing to you today to express our strong concerns about your program titled “SeaWorld: The Case Against Captivity.”

Based on the previews of your program to date, we believe the content you are airing provides viewers with an untrue picture of current SeaWorld practices. For example, SeaWorld no longer allows its professionally trained staff go in the water with orcas and has changed its safety practices when working with orcas. Additionally, SeaWorld is no longer breeding orcas, which would also include using artificial insemination techniques on the animals.

I can say with confidence SeaWorld facilities are meeting or exceeding the AZA accreditation standards, which are regarded as the ‘gold standard’ for modern zoological facilities worldwide. This includes our specific standards for cetaceans. For your information, AZA’s accreditation standards, including specific standards related to cetaceans, can be found on our website at:

Our standards are publicly available and are continuously improving to reflect new science in animal care and welfare. The SeaWorld facilities are responsible members and leaders within our community that have consistently achieved accreditation for decades. Not only do the dedicated professionals at SeaWorld provide their animals with exceptional care, but they also provide significant support for the rescue of corals, injured marine mammals and sea turtles. Guests who visit any SeaWorld facility can be assured that their visit is educational, family-friendly, and supports SeaWorld’s efforts to help save animals from extinction.

It is my sincere hope CBS will consider publishing a story on one of its many channels about the voluminous good work SeaWorld is doing versus focusing on old, outdated claims no longer relevant to SeaWorld today.

Best regards,
Dan Ashe
President and CEO
Association of Zoos and Aquariums

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and ten other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

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