Written by PETA
Another day, another death at SeaWorld. The latest casualty is a 25-year-old orca named Kalina who died yesterday at the theme park's Orlando location, far short of most orcas' expected 50- to 60-year life span. As usual, SeaWorld will likely try to keep this death on the down low.
Kalina spent two and a half decades in misery, never having the chance to choose a mate, live with her family, or roam the vast oceans.
SeaWorld's cheap tricks will continue to cost animals their lives as long as the public buys a ticket. Please tell SeaWorld's owners that you'll be staying far away. Also, check out PETA's True Friends Memorial page set up for Kalina here.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Word has it that SeaWorld has its eyes on acquiring a young orca named Morgan, who became stranded in Dutch waters and is currently being tended to at the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk, Netherlands.
Considering how many orcas are living and dying in misery at SeaWorld, we've asked the Dolfinarium's director not to cave in to SeaWorld if it pressures him to relinquish custody of Morgan into its "care."
Please urge the Dolfinarium to release Morgan back into her rightful ocean home as soon as she has recovered.
Backing up claims made by Linda Simons, SeaWorld's former head of safety, Michelle Dillard, a former human resources director at SeaWorld, has come forward to report that the marine park attempted to block an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) into the death of Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by an orca named Tilikum in February. (OSHA found SeaWorld to be "willfully" at fault in connection with Brancheau's death and fined the park $75,000.)
"I personally witnessed [the SeaWorld Management team] outright lying to OSHA, using intentional delay tactics to stonewall the investigation and, behind closed doors, revealing an inflexible and obstinate refusal to be forthcoming and accommodating toward OSHA," wrote Dillard in a statement to OSHA that was obtained by The Huffington Post.
Dillard, who resigned in July because of what she says were unbearable working conditions, also alleged that her former boss, SeaWorld's vice president of human resources, "hid documents, pretended to not know that documents existed and obstructed OSHA's investigation." She says she came forward because of SeaWorld's retaliation against Simons, who was fired two months after the attack.
Dillard's allegations are a timely reminder to keep the pressure on SeaWorld to "retire" Tilikum and all the other dolphins at SeaWorld facilities to coastal sanctuaries.
Via The Huffington Post
Written by Alisa Mullins
First, there was the jaw-dropping story of a British woman who was caught on camera tossing an affectionate cat into an outdoor trash bin. Then, it was an Eastern European girl who slung crying puppies into a fast-moving stream. Now, right here in America, some people have imprisoned a dog inside a box barely bigger than his own body. The box has solid sides, and the dog can only see out if he jumps up and peers over them. He has been locked in the box for months. To add to the mental torment, the dog has worn his teeth down to nubs from biting at his prison, so his owners occasionally take him out of the box to painfully drill holes vertically into his teeth in order to irrigate them. And right there by the side of the box, the dog's keepers also manually extract sperm from him and use it to breed other dogs to sell. There's more, but the abuse that I've already described should be enough to make any decent person sick.
Take a look at Google Maps, and you can look down into the container and see the dog lying there.
Why, you may ask, aren't these people in jail? How is it that the local humane society has not swooped in and seized the dog?
Oh, I'm sorry. Did I write "dog"? I meant to write "orca." And the people perpetrating this horror are SeaWorld executives. So why exactly does swapping one intelligent animal for another or swapping an average Joe for rich business executives lessen the horror of this orca's ordeal or the injustice of the situation? Answer: It doesn't.
Tilikum is the orca. He killed a human being—for the third time—earlier this year. Perhaps there's a reason why killer whales are called "killer" whales. Tilikum didn't give his keeper, Dawn Brancheau, a little playful toss or misjudge and hold her under water just a second too long for her to survive. He shook her like a rag doll, slammed her into the side of the pool, stopped her from surfacing, and tore her body apart. My bet is that he knew exactly what he was doing. Having seen how he is kept and knowing where he came from, it's not hard to comprehend the depth of his anger and frustration.
Tilikum is 32 years old. When he was just 2 years old, he was caught by marine "cowboys" who kidnap dolphins and orcas to sell to amusement parks. He was taken from his family—his pod—in the open waters off Iceland, and he's lived in a cement pool ever since, unable to use his echolocation, to swim away, to travel the oceans, or to hear or see his relatives. He is "trained" to eat what he's given and do what he's told. He is also trained to roll over, which allows trainers to masturbate him with a gloved hand and collect his semen in a container. His semen is frozen for later use or used immediately to inseminate female orcas at one of SeaWorld's parks so as to provide additional animals to use in shows.
Life in a tiny concrete tank is no life at all for these animals, as evidenced by the death this week of Tilikum's 12-year-old son at SeaWorld San Diego. Twelve! This orca would likely have lived to be 50 or 60 in the open sea, his rightful home.
After the third human being lost her life to Tilikum, SeaWorld reduced his meager "world" even further. Tilly is now relegated mostly, if not solely, to the "F pool," a solid-sided concrete pool that measures just 36 feet long and 25 feet wide. Tilikum is 22 1/2 feet long with a wide girth. He weighs more than 12,000 pounds. So he has to scrunch just to turn around. And once turned, there he is again, nose against the other wall. He has been condemned to hang in place in the water indefinitely.
PETA is calling on the local humane society and the state's attorney to free Tilly. After all, cruelty to animals, whether to a dog or to an orca, is illegal in all states.
Written by Ingrid E. Newkirk
PETA activists demonstrated in front of all three SeaWorld locations this weekend—in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio—to remind visitors and passersby about the rising death toll at these abusement parks.
In another development, former SeaWorld trainers are calling on federal authorities to reject the corporation's latest public-relations ploy: to provide "spare air" (small oxygen canisters inside wetsuits) so that trainers like Dawn Brancheau—who was killed by an orca—can get back into the tanks. When Dawn was attacked, she suffered massive injuries. There's not a chance in the world that an oxygen canister can stand up to the crushing force of a stressed, enraged 5-ton animal.
Please remember, you can help animals by speaking out against SeaWorld. Post on Facebook and spread the word to your family and friends. Join countless other people who are saying "enough" to SeaWorld's exploitation of orcas, bottlenose dolphins, and other animals. And be sure to visit our True Friends Memorial page set up in memory of Sumar, the orca that died at SeaWorld San Diego last week.
Two ailing dolphins who have been languishing in a filthy, cramped tank in Turkey are on the road to recovery after PETA Germany and the marvelous charity Born Free took action. And after The Sun—the U.K.'s best-selling newspaper—ran an exposé about Tom and Misha's plight, PETA Germany staffers posted an action alert, wrote to the mayor, and coordinated action with Turkish animal protection groups.
Our colleagues at Born Free are moving Tom and Misha to a rehabilitation center, and the dolphins will be released into their rightful ocean home as soon as they've recovered.
Let's call for the rehabilitation and release of more captive dolphins, such as the orcas (the largest members of the dolphin family) at SeaWorld.
The death toll continues to rise at SeaWorld with the passing of a 12-year-old orca named Sumar at the theme-park chain's San Diego location. Sumar died far short of the expected 50-to-60 year lifespan of orcas who roam the vast oceans, his rightful home.
Whatever caused Sumar's death (and let's hope that there will be no cover-up this time), circling a tiny concrete tank at a theme park and deprived of all that is natural and enjoyable, was never a life at all. Instead of profiting from their domination, PETA calls on SeaWorld to release these animals to coastal sanctuaries.
Please contact Blackstone Group (which owns SeaWorld) and insist that it begin the rehabilitation process right away.
Also, be sure to visit the True Friends Memorial site set up in memory of Sumar.
Ten-year-old Bobby Connell has spent the last six months plagued by nightmares after witnessing Tilikum the killer whale batter SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau to death right in front of his eyes. Bobby's father, in a suit filed against SeaWorld, said his son "saw the look of horror and desperation on Dawn's face as she was swimming for her life. … He then saw Tilikum violently yank her down again to the depths of the pool."
The family sat in the front row during the show, and Bobby's mother later told reporters, "It affected all of us. I'll start crying while driving. I mean, we saw her face. She made it to the surface and she looked directly at us."
The Connells' lawsuit (and the one that will probably follow from Brancheau's widower) comes on the heels of a damning report issued by OSHA that cited SeaWorld for routinely putting Brancheau at risk of death by allowing her in close proximity to Tilikum, a frustrated animal who had already killed twice.
Please contact the Blackstone Group (which owns SeaWorld) and insist that it close the tanks before another animal or human dies or another child is traumatized for life.
An investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) into the "death by orca" of trainer Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld Orlando has resulted in three citations against the marine park for safety violations, including willfully exposing employees to life-threatening hazards when interacting with orcas. OSHA assessed SeaWorld with the maximum penalty—a $75,000 fine.
According to OSHA regional administrator Cindy Coe, "SeaWorld recognized the inherent risk of allowing trainers to interact with potentially dangerous animals." She added, "Nonetheless, it required its employees to work within the pool walls, on ledges, and on shelves where they were subject to dangerous behavior by the animals."
The citations are all the more noteworthy considering the fact that SeaWorld tried to sway OSHA's findings and attempted to thwart the investigation at every turn, according to a former staffer, who also says that SeaWorld withheld documents from OSHA and refused to allow inspectors to talk with trainers. OSHA was also pressured by a Florida politician who was worried about losing those SeaWorld dollars that fill the state's coffers.
In the wake of the report, PETA is renewing our call for the release of all the orcas at SeaWorld to seaside rehabilitation pens.
"[T]he only thing that will prevent misery and death in the future is for SeaWorld to stop capturing and confining wild marine mammals and to let these orcas go," said PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "The list of human beings—Keltie Byrne, Alex Martinez, Ken Peters, Steve Aibel, and Dawn Brancheau—who have been killed or maimed by captive killer whales, and the list of orca families torn apart by SeaWorld's greed, will only otherwise grow."
PETA is also calling on Florida Governor Charlie Crist to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate SeaWorld's actions. We hope you'll write to the governor, too—and whatever you do, never go within a country nautical mile of a SeaWorld park.
Linda Simons, SeaWorld's former safety chief, told PETA that she was fired from her job after she cooperated with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation into the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was battered to death by an orca named Tilikum, aka Tilly.
We linked Simons up with Good Morning America and she told them about the "Tilly Talk," the orientation that SeaWorld staffers get about the dangers of working with orcas. According to Simons, staffers were told that if a person were to go into the water with Tilly, the person would "come out a corpse." She also said that only a couple of weeks before Brancheau's death, the park held a practice drill on how to handle an orca incident, and the standard critique of the drill was not even completed because the drill had failed so badly.
Simons claims that SeaWorld withheld documents from OSHA investigators and blocked interviews with trainers—interviews that might have been critical in assessing blame.
SeaWorld has a history of bullying authorities into sweeping bad press under the rug. Following a 2006 attack by an orca on a trainer at SeaWorld in San Diego, the California division of OSHA concluded that it was "only a matter of time" before someone was killed, but the agency withdrew its findings after being blasted by pressure from SeaWorld.
OSHA's report should be out later today and is likely to find that SeaWorld was negligent—despite influence from SeaWorld and a shameless U.S. representative from Florida.
Please join PETA in calling on Florida's governor to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute SeaWorld for the involuntary manslaughter of Dawn Brancheau.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.