Written by PETA
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
Wild animals are dying because of human avarice, but unlike the plight of those who are perishing in oil, the carnage at SeaWorld can easily be stopped. An orca named Taima died this weekend while giving birth to a stillborn calf at SeaWorld Orlando. The baby was conceived by Tilikum, the angry and frustrated orca who battered a trainer to death earlier this year—the third time he has killed a human.
For Taima, death was terrifying and painful, but it was a release from a miserable life of deprivation. In nature, orcas choose their own mates, and the families stay together for life. Ripped from her ocean home, Taima's own mother, Gudrun, died in captivity after a complicated delivery in which chains were used to extract her stillborn calf. Gudrun was called mentally ill and was known to be violent. Both mother orcas and their calves met their end alone in a tank full of chemically-treated water that must have felt like a bathtub to these animals, who were meant to explore the endless fathoms of the sea.
SeaWorld is a greedy outfit that spends millions of dollars on cruel breeding programs and marketing promotions. It values profit over safety and treats orcas as if they were wind-up toys. Like BP, SeaWorld can never make up for the harm that it has done. It should immediately fund the creation of a coastal sanctuary into which the orcas can start their journey back home. It can start with Tilikum.
Please, contact Blackstone Group and insist that it stop the horrors associated with keeping animals in captivity and put its money toward more humane endeavors.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
A judge has temporarily ruled that video footage and photographs of the violent killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by Tilly the killer whale will not be made public. The fight over that will rage on, I'm sure. But the autopsy report has been released today, and it makes it very clear that Dawn Brancheau's last moments were filled with tremendous suffering. Despite massive public relations efforts on SeaWorld's part to smooth over the "incident"—i.e., death by killer whale—by characterizing it as "play" that went a bit wrong, the autopsy shows that Tilly was not in the mood for affection.
The six-page report reveals that Brancheau's left arm and part of her scalp were ripped off. She suffered spinal cord injuries, and her ribs as well as bones in her legs, arms, and face were broken. She had bruises and cuts all over her body. And she drowned.
As PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk states, "These were not love bites, but the vented fury of an angry and frustrated being who has been deprived of everything in life: family, friends, freedom—all for the sake of human profit and a few giggles."
The gory details of Dawn Brancheau's death are further evidence that animals who are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them throughout their entire miserable lives in sea parks, circuses, and zoos around the world will continue to attack and kill people whom they see as having a role in the denial of their freedom and family connections.
Whether by writing, tweeting, picketing, getting creative, or (ideally) doing all of the above and more, please help Tilly and the many other animals who are being held in captivity and deprived of everything that is natural to them. And the most important thing that anyone can do to help imprisoned animals is to refuse to patronize marine or other abusement parks.
Written by Karin Bennett
PETA's forecast for SeaWorld San Antonio—cloudy with a chance of freedom:
On Saturday, PETA's "Let Orcas Out of Prison" banner flew across the sky while dedicated PETA supporters on the ground spread the word that trainers and animals will continue to get hurt or die until SeaWorld frees the animals to sanctuaries.
Coastal sanctuaries are the only humane places for the wild animals who are currently used by SeaWorld and other parks and who suffer for years in confined, unnatural conditions. One psychologist has pointed out that Tilikum—the captive orca who killed a SeaWorld trainer—is so traumatized from the shock of his capture, the disruption of his natural development, and his more than 30 years of imprisonment in a concrete pool that if he were human, he would undoubtedly be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
SeaWorld's continued exploitation of these sensitive animals is nothing more than a callous way to turn a cheap buck. Please don't support it.
Written by Logan Scherer
"How do you put an interactive, social animal, one of the smartest animals in the world … and you're going to stick them in a tub and make them do tricks? How do you do that? Because they make money? It's disgusting and SeaWorld is absolutely wrong. This is a big wake-up call. How many more people are going to have to be killed? When are we going to realize that these animals are not supposed to be there?"—Hayden Panettiere
When it comes to speaking out against SeaWorld, the stars are aligning. The vegetarian Panettiere—who appears in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove—joins Matt Damon, Bob Barker, Pamela Anderson, and many other celebrities who have lent their voices to support Tilikum by publicly denouncing the use of marine mammals for "entertainment."
Will you be the next to speak up? Ask SeaWorld to release the animals to sanctuaries.
We weren't surprised when we heard that SeaWorld hired animal pimp "entertainer" Jack Hanna to defend its abuse of marine mammals as well as SeaWorld's abysmal record of injuries and deaths of both trainers and animals. This is the same man who called Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey "the finest circus in the world," after all.
Hanna—who actually compared whale trainers to astronauts (?!)—has his own long and sordid history of exploiting animals at the expense of the safety of the animals and the humans around them. The baby animals Hanna regularly turns into unwilling performers are unweaned infants who were torn from their mothers shortly after birth. His traveling wildlife are subjected to the crippling stress of large crowds and are trapped in an unnatural, alien environment.
Hanna's antics perpetuate the misguided notion that dangerous and exotic animals are desirable "pets," yet even an "animal expert" such as himself can't take the wild nature out of the animals he carts around. His "pet" lion bit off the arm of a 3-year-old. A chimpanzee he brought to a church, bit off a 5-year-old girl's finger. A fox he displayed on Good Morning America severely bit the host's finger, and a baby cougar he brought to a conference bit a politician on the chin. By using animal suppliers and assistants with poor records of animal care, Hanna supports individuals and organizations who have been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Hanna + SeaWorld = double the suffering for animals. Want to tell these abusers to "Hit the road, Jack!"? Urge SeaWorld to end its use of marine mammals immediately.
Written by Logan Scherer
"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.
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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.