ORLANDO, Fla. – Executives for SeaWorld Entertainment today announced that they will soon begin downsizing their workforce of sea-dwelling animals by up to 40 percent. The company—which owns 11 theme parks in the U.S.—explained that “budget concerns” raised by the looming implementation of Obamacare is to blame for the “thousands of hard-working sea creatures who will soon be living on the streets—or, if they’re lucky, the sewers.”
Terry W. Prather, president of SeaWorld Orlando—the company’s largest and most visited park—said that firing animals like sea turtles and beluga whales is “the hardest part of [his] job,” but maintained that the company “had no other choice.” “Everyone knows that Obamacare is going to greatly harm the business world, and SeaWorld is no exception,” Prather said. “We simply can’t afford the luxury of multiple Shamus anymore.”
When asked to name specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will harm SeaWorld’s bottom line, Prather demurred, saying only that the company can’t afford the skyrocketing cost of fish-feed or “to provide every turtle and penguin with birth control.”
Large parts of the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act—a highly complex piece of legislation colloquially referred to as Obamacare—will be implemented October 1, nearly three years after the bill’s passage. Many businesses fear that their insurance expenditures will increase under the law, and several companies, including SeaWorld, have been cutting jobs or hours for their human employees in anticipation of the laws effects, although many experts believe the ACA will be good for business overall.
Ben Little, an expert on animal workers with the Institute of Animal Labor, said that SeaWorld’s decision represents the largest single layoff of marine life employees in American history. “We’re talking about thousands of fish, mammals and amphibians suddenly without gainful employment, all thanks to Obamacare,” Little said. “That law’s greatest victims are these animals, who want nothing more than to look incredibly cute, do awesome tricks, and be able to feed their families in the process.”
Katina, one of the starring orca whales at SeaWorld Orlando who received her waterproof pink slip this week, did not respond to repeated requests for an interview; but her trainer, Mary Ann, said Kalina’s dorsal fin has been sagging, a sign of whale depression. “She’s just worried about signing up for unemployment benefits,” Mary Ann said. “Whales don’t do very well in crowded government offices.”