Written by Jeff Mackey
PETA protested outside SeaWorld parks in San
Antonio and San Diego today, just one week after the marine-animal prison chain was hit with a
$38,500 repeat violation fine from the
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for allowing dangerous contact between employees and orcas in defiance of a
federal court order—and basic decency.
This SeaWorld San Antonio employee was shocked to learn about the
violations that led to the OSHA fine.
The fine resulted from a follow-up investigation and photos
and footage on TV of trainers who hugged and kissed orcas without any
protective barrier, as required by an earlier OSHA ruling. SeaWorld fought OSHA's decision with two
unsuccessful appeals, but the ruling stands.
Aggression between orcas is nearly non-existent in nature,
but the constant stress of living in forced social groupings inside tiny tanks
at SeaWorld causes them to
lash out, posing a danger to animals and employees alike. SeaWorld's own corporate incident logs
contain reports of more than 100
incidents at its parks. Orcas have pulled trainers into the water, held them at the
bottom of the pool, head-butted them, slammed into them, breached on top of
them, and, of course, killed
them—and those are just the episodes that have been reported.
What You Can Do
Please tell everyone you know to leave all marine-animal parks and aquariums out of their family travel plans, and ask SeaWorld officials to release their animals to sanctuaries.
Written by PETA
witnessing an ear-splitting dance party at the Georgia Aquarium to kick off Atlanta
Pride festivities, PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews sent a letter to the
aquarium's president and COO David
Kimmel to set the record straight about how this kind of audio torture
of animals is not only inappropriate but also likely a violation of Georgia's
knowledge that music and other noises at this volume are profoundly distressing
to, at the very least, the belugas and the animals they attack when this stress
and frustration manifests itself as aggression … the aquarium continues to willfully
subject the animals in its care to excessive noise during planned events.
described his experience at the prison aquarium in detail in a Huffington Post blog post, noting that belugas have a sophisticated
sonar system that helps them navigate the arctic waters in which they swim
thousands of miles every year in large, social groups. In captivity, the sonar
bounces off tank walls, frustrating the animals. Dan spoke (or rather, shouted)
with a tour guide who acknowledged that during high-volume events, the male
belugas start to attack the harbor seals with whom they share a tank.
© Dave Riganelli/ iStockphoto.com
PETA friend and gay rights supporter Martina Navratilova heard that Atlanta Pride held an event at the
aquarium, she told Dan, "I cringe at any zoo or a theme park/aquarium with
captive animals. But the big ones, whales, dolphins, giraffes, elephants, etc.,
the big cats—they make me cry."
can help the animals affected by this event by contacting the Georgia Aquarium to ask
that it implement a policy immediately that would allow only soft ambient or
classical music at events. After all, it's not as though the animals don't have
enough stress already by being held captive in a tank that—to them—is the size
of a bathtub.
by Heather Faraid Drennan
the death of a dolphin named Nea at the Brookfield Zoo on Monday, it was
business as usual when shows resumed the next day. Nea suffered a fractured
skull after apparently colliding with another dolphin. Staff were alerted to the
collision after hearing a "loud pop."
twisted logic, the zoo's senior vice president of "collections"
claimed the show resumed since the dolphins "love to do the demonstrations
because it is part of their normal behavior." For the record, dolphins' "normal
behavior" is swimming dozens of miles a day, not swimming in circles in a
© Photodisc/Sea Life/Getty Images
other animals have died in troubling circumstances at the Brookfield Zoo,
including Mame, an
elephant in her prime at age 34 who was found on the ground with serious
injuries, a 4-month-old tiger cub who lost his right foreleg and part of his
tail after being attacked by another tiger, a giraffe named Dusti,
and 16 stingrays used in the touch tank.
Now that scientists
have proved that dolphins
talk, let's use our own vocal cords to
converse with family and friends and remind them that every ticket purchased to
a zoo or aquarium means supporting the miserable lives and deaths of captive dolphins
and other animals.
by Jennifer O'Connor
As soccer fans all over the world are packing up their vuvuzelas, PETA Germany is petitioning for the retirement and release of Paul the prophetic octopus, who correctly chose the winners in eight match-ups, including Spain's win yesterday over the Netherlands. No one deserves to spend an entire life locked in a glass box, but if that's not reason enough to release Paul, here's a short list that should help PETA Germany make the case:
Caring soccer and animal fans from all over the world would certainly celebrate the release of the World Cup's Most Valuable Octopus from his tiny, unnatural confines at the Sea Life center in Oberhausen. PETA Germany promises a vuvuzela-free celebration.
Written by Karin Bennett
The Florida Marlins plan to spend millions on their new stadium, which is set to open in 2012. But they can save countless animals' lives as well as tons of money by rethinking plans to build two saltwater aquariums as part of the project.
Instead of exposing fish to the loud crowds, bright lights, and reverberations of a baseball stadium in an unnatural environment that will certainly have a negative impact on the health and well-being of the fish, the team should consider one of several innovative alternatives. We've asked the Marlins to explore the following possibilities:
Considering all these fresh and innovative alternatives, there's no reason why the Marlins can't think "outside the tank." Let Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria know that you think our suggestions are home runs!
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Today, the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife is holding a hearing to discuss the "educational value" of marine amusement parks and the recent death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was dragged under water and battered to death by Tilly, a 12,000-pound captive orca.
PETA submitted testimony calling on federal authorities to prohibit the confinement of orcas (killer whales) at SeaWorld and other marine-mammal parks.
In a spin that would make Dick Cheney proud, SeaWorld execs explained that Dawn's killing (in which her scalp was removed, her arm was disconnected from her body, and her spine, ribs, and face were broken) was "play" gone awry. SeaWorld waited a mere three days before resuming its pricey orca shows, the newest of which is called "Believe," which includes "elaborate set pieces, state-of-the-art multimedia, music, and choreography." Sounds real "educational," doesn't it?
SeaWorld and other greedy for-profit parks leave visitors thinking that orcas are little more than wind-up toys, all called Shamu, when they are in fact highly intelligent predators who, in the wild, would swim up to 100 miles every day and who think, plan, and communicate … and hunt. Dawn was Tilly's third human victim. If Congress doesn't act, who will be number four? Everyone can help by spreading the word to stay away from SeaWorld and other marine theme parks when hitting the road this summer.
After a brief glimmer of hope that the slaughter in Taiji, Japan, would not happen this year, it has belatedly begun. Of the 100 dolphins rounded up so far, half will be released and the other half will be sent to prison aquariums. Fifty pilot whales have been slaughtered.
But there is hope: Worldwide outrage prompted by the recent movie The Cove means that the future of the slaughter is uncertain, according to an anonymous official at the Taiji fisheries association.
There's still work to be done. Please contact your local Japanese embassy and express your disgust over the sale of dolphins to aquariums and the slaughter of pilot whales.
Written by Shawna Flavell
It's not often that we post an entry about octopi, but this story is definitely worth the mention.
When employees at the Sea Star Aquarium in Coburg, Germany, were puzzled by the constant short-circuiting of lights, they thought it was a result of technical difficulties. It turns out, however, that Otto the octopus was just trying to get the irritating light turned off. Maybe he'd read that study about how having lights on at night can interfere with your sleep.
It took three days and the detective work of several employees to learn of Otto's clever antics, which included climbing to the rim of his tank and squirting water at the lights above to turn them off. The cephalopod has also been caught redecorating his tank by tossing its contents around, throwing rocks at the tank glass, and juggling hermit crabs.
Otto's pranks may be amusing—especially when they're fooling humans—but they're also a sign that he is bored out of his mind and not receiving the stimulation that any intelligent being needs. They are a cry for attention. Signs of boredom and loneliness are the norm among animals who are imprisoned in tiny, barren spaces; and they can be dangerous too. When the electricity short-circuited, it shut down all the filters and water pumps, putting not only Otto in danger but the other marine life as well. And the hermit crabs most likely didn't enjoy being tossed around.
Octopi are highly intelligent animals with sharp short-term and long-term memory skills. Instead of buying new toys and keeping an eye on Otto, as the aquarium's director has suggested, we vote that he should be released into the ocean where he can live a natural and full life in his vast native environment. All the toys in the world aren't going to make any difference for an animal who is crammed into a tiny, unfamiliar living space that lacks the proper kind of stimulation.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
A distressed female becomes pregnant—but she's still a virgin! Grave danger ensues!
But no. I'm not talking about events in that Little Town of Bethlehem, circa 1 A.D. This happened just last year in Virginia Beach, practically next door to PETA's Norfolk HQ.
In a study reported today, DNA testing confirmed that the embryo carried by Tidbit, a blacktip shark held captive at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, contained no genetic material from a male. That's right—a virgin conception, in our day and age. Holy mother of God … er … I mean … Holy Tidbit!
But wait, that's not all. Tidbit's pregnancy was only discovered when she died after being sedated for her annual health checkup—so there was no virgin birth, only an immaculate conception. The scientists who confirmed the nature of the pregnancy say that Tidbit's pup would almost certainly have been eaten by bigger sharks in the same tank.
Now, those of you who frequent our site know that we're not fans of aquariums and marine mammal prisons … uh, parks. But the above story pretty much says it all. These facilities claim to be helping and preserving marine animals, but they can't even protect a newborn—or the adults, for that matter. In the end, perhaps Tidbit was the fortunate one. At least she no longer has to deal with the daily boredom and stress of her unnatural environment.
Ya know, when we first moved our headquarters to Norfolk, we ran a campaign against this particular aquarium because of its severely inadequate dolphin tanks (among other things). And it always just really frustrated me to know that there were these marine animals locked in a tank right across from the ocean.
Now the Jesus shark comes to this very aquarium and is dead before arrival. The irony is not lost on me!
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
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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.