Sea World has been on the defense due to social media pressure in recent years, and I don't feel it is warranted whatsoever.
Each time I see anyone berating Sea World or 'hating' them due to Blackfish's mockumentary, I just shake my head. It's sad, how does anyone get caught up in that stuff and think it's legitimate? Yes, these mammals are in large aquariums. They are cared for, studied, fed all the time. Projecting human emotions about how they'd be happier in their pods in the ocean is easy to do... anyone will embrace that cuddly feeling.
But how many pods are actually out there? Anyone done any type of research or head count? If you want to know more about Orcas, you can bet Sea World has a wealth of knowledge to share on this one topic... and they know about lots of marine life. It's what they do for a living, around the clock every single day.
Any pet in any enclosure can be targeted by these activist groups. And they can even target regular homeowners that want a certain breed of (insert type of animal here). Only then will people suddenly say "wait, that's not fair."
I've never seen an ill malnourished animal on display at Sea World or any other public aquarium. I have been able to see some rescued animals being helped, and those people are doing the brunt of the work while the general population judges them from afar.
Here's an article worth reading: http://awesomeocean.com/2014/12/04/four-reasons-condemning-seaworld-really-bad-idea/