Written by PETA
This past weekend's weather may have snowed in New Yorkers and sent Hawaiians running for the hills, but pouring rain in both Orlando and San Diego didn't slow down PETA demonstrators outside SeaWorld amusement parks. Armed with wellies and warnings, they delivered urgent messages about SeaWorld's ticking time bombs.
Experts agree: Whales like Tilly, who grabbed and killed his trainer in front of horrified SeaWorld patrons last week, should not be crammed into tiny tanks and trained to perform tricks for their dinner. These marine mammals are 6 tons of frustration and misery, and it's really only a matter of time before tragedy strikes again. SeaWorld's cruelty to Tilly and other captive orcas is bad enough, but the corporation's refusal to stop cashing in on the whales is also irresponsible and dangerous.
As for me, I've only seen orcas once, and that was from deck of a ferry boat in Seattle. They were leaping out of the Puget Sound, and the whole scene took my breath away. Like anyone else who's ever spotted these magnificent animals living as nature intended, I know that their sad lives at SeaWorld is nothing like it.
Written by Karin Bennett
"I think they should just shut them all down. I've never been a fan of places like that."—Matt Damon on SeaWorld
This weekend, Damon joined Bob Barker and tons of other stars who are speaking out against SeaWorld after yet another trainer was killed by the imprisoned orca Tilikum.
The only ocean-dwellers we want to see perform? Matt Damon and his Ocean's franchise co-stars. Add your voice to the thousands who have already told SeaWorld to release its animals to sanctuaries immediately.
Written by Logan Scherer
Eyebrows are shooting up in the animal protection world, as SeaWorld has hired professional animal entertainer Jack Hanna to sing its praises in public. Given his own record of responsibility for numerous animal attacks (including an incident in which a chimpanzee he was using in a public display bit off a 5-year-old girl’s finger) and his history of using underage animals who should be with their mothers instead of in noisy crowds and under bright lights, Hanna seems a good fit for SeaWorld. Despite its heavy public relations efforts, the marine park has a long history of getting away with murder while turning a fast buck. For example, the statements from SeaWorld about what a surprise, shock, and accident it was that the orca Tilly had drowned and pounded a seasoned trainer to death in Orlando deserve careful scrutiny. It was the third time that that particular orca had killed a human being (Tilly’s son also killed a trainer last year in Spain), both other deaths having also been dismissed by the amusement park as "accidental" when they were likely anything but. The marine amusement park environment is rife with deaths, close calls, and injuries.
As Jason Hribal writes in his soon-to-be-released book, Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance, Tilly and two of the other orcas came from Sealand of the Pacific in Canada, a facility that closed shortly after all three whales were involved in a fatal attack on a trainer. That attack, "carried out by Nootka, Haida, and Tilikum left the park in a public relations freefall. Administrators promised changes. New safety procedures would be initiated. Physical contact between the trainers and whales will no longer be allowed. Guardrails will be installed along the poolside to prevent slips or bites." All the same things that SeaWorld is saying as it hopes for the story of the trainer’s death to go away. But in Canada, back then, public pressure did not let up. As Hribal writes, "Between the daily protests at the park's front gates, national demands that the orcas be released back to the ocean, and the city council's entrance into the debate, Sealand’s will crumbled. In August of 1991, the park reached a startling decision. 'After a lot of thought and discussion,' the director clarified, 'it was decided killer whales should be phased out.' … The twenty-nine year old institution had closed permanently."
"[A] living, breathing movie whose horrifying disclosures feel fully earned." —The New York Times
"To watch bleeding dolphins struggle for their last breath, to actually hear their agony, is devastating. … [Y]ou feel culpable just for being part of the species that can teach another mammal tricks, reward it with snacks and pats and at the same time be capable of getting up at dawn to poke it to death with spears." —Time
"[O]ne of the most powerful, heartfelt, and (yes, I'll say it) important 'nature' documentaries I've ever seen." —Cinematical
"[T]he footage is so horrifying, the facts so disturbing. It's not that you can't believe it, but that you don't want to." —The Huffington Post
When this movie hits theaters near you, go!
Written by Shawna Flavell
"Would you go to see a brilliant actor who's been framed for something that he didn't do, and put him on a stage and say he's going to do Hamlet for you, and why don't you enjoy it? That's a hell of an analogy, but it's about the same thing."
That's what comedian Jerry Stiller had to say as he was leaving a screening of The Cove, a documentary about the annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. During the slaughter, some of the young dolphins are captured and sent to aquariums to be put on display. But Stiller won't be going to see them—and neither will many of the other people who see this powerful movie.
Look for The Cove at a theater near you on July 31.
Written by Amanda Schinke
The folks who scoffed at our proposal to buy SeaWorld and convert its facilities into non-animal theme parks might reconsider their stance after reading about the real cost of having these parks continue with business as usual.
Last week, we received word from a whistleblower that a dolphin named Dixie, who is exploited in SeaWorld's Discovery Cove "swim with dolphins" attraction in Orlando, gave birth to a stillborn infant. What's more, even though SeaWorld knew that Dixie was due to give birth, the park apparently did not have a veterinarian available for Dixie at any point during or after her labor. She was forced to endure this traumatic experience—and its aftermath—without proper care.
This information came to us just a few short weeks after another dolphin, Scarlet, and her unborn fetus died at Discovery Cove. In that case, we were told that the necropsy revealed that Scarlet's uterus had ruptured while she was pregnant, causing the calf to be released into her body cavity.
These disgraceful incidents clearly show that SeaWorld and other aquariums don't really care about the well-being of the animals they incarcerate, so we have filed a complaint with the USDA calling for investigations into Scarlet's death and the lack of care provided to Dixie.
We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you're going to Florida this summer (or any other time), there are lots of great places to visit where your money won't go toward hurting smart, sensitive animals.
Written by Jeff Mackey
OK, ever since we mentioned our proposal to take over a SeaWorld and turn it into a virtual-reality marine-mammal theme park, some people have been a bit, well, skeptical.
Obviously, these folks aren't familiar with PETA and our unique blend of determination and outside-the-box thinking. Long story short: Never say "never" to PETA people (and that includes our wonderful members and supporters).
Anyone who doubts that we are serious—and, really, we're a little hurt, Sea World PR man—might want to check out a new animal-friendly show touring the U.S. called "Walking With Dinosaurs." It features enormous "live" dinosaurs roaring and stomping around the arena, chasing each other, foraging, and protecting their young. Imagine a life-size T. rex towering over you. Using animatronics, lighting, and sound effects, the show is thrilling family-packed audiences.
Unlike the animals currently trapped at SeaWorld, these robotic Barneys voluntarily put on an amazing 90-minute show. Machines don't get bored and anxious between performances or miss their "natural" environment, but marine mammals—who would naturally swim hundreds of miles per day, eat a diverse diet, and form complex relationships—spend their lives swimming in listless, lonely circles.
If they can already do all that with fake dinosaurs, then our SeaWorld overhaul should be a piece of cake (or maybe a cupcake), right? Like one of those aquarium screensavers—and if you're jonesing for an aquarium, that's the way to go—taken to the extreme. It's win-win: The animals are free to do their thing, and you don't go home smelling like chlorine.
C'mon, it makes more sense than Dollywood! And it could really happen—now that Anheuser-Busch is being taken over by InBev, a Belgium-based beverage giant, and InBev is thinking of selling SeaWorld to finance the new business venture.
PETA sent a letter to the CEO of InBev this morning offering to buy the marine mammal parks and their captive animals, thanks to a very generous PETA donor. Have we mentioned before how compassionate and amazing our donors and supporters are?!
Just don't expect penguin enclosures, sting-ray petting tanks, or hoop-jumping dolphins. PETA's vision is to turn the animal-exploiting money-maker into an educational non-animal theme park with state-of-the art virtual marine mammal displays that are so realistic that it's as if you're nose to snout with Flipper. And the animals currently held captive in the parks would be rehabilitated in coastal sanctuaries before being released back into their natural environments—a place many of the mammals remember fondly from before they were captured, sent to flounder (geddit?) in SeaWorld's small pools, and forced to perform mindless tricks, over and over and over and over and over again, for the amusement of little children.
Virtual reality technology has become so advanced that there is absolutely no need to make animals suffer or to put them in danger for human enjoyment or education. 3-D effects put us right in the action—and make us feel as if we're swimming in the cold Pacific with the great whites. It's safe for the animals, and you don't have to worry about losing a leg or being painfully stung by jellyfish.
You can read our full letter to InBev under the cut.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.