Written by Jeff Mackey
The National Marine Fisheries Service has found that the
information provided in a petition submitted by PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the Orca Network may
warrant the inclusion of lonely orca Lolita in the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
listing of the Southern Resident orcas, the family she was taken from more than
40 years ago.
DrTH80 | cc by 2.0
Orcas are members of the dolphin family. They are also the largest animals held in captivity. In the wild, orcas stay with their mothers for life.
The cruel exclusion from the safeguards against harm and harassment
afforded by the ESA has allowed the Miami Seaquarium to hold Lolita in the
smallest orca tank in North America without any others of her species for
company. The agency will now have nine months to determine whether Lolita's illegitimate
and inexplicable omission from her family's listing should be reversed.
The decision to review Lolita's exclusion is an important
step toward ensuring that she will finally receive the same protection offered
to her family members, which could eventually lead to her being reunited with
her pod in the ocean, where her mother still thrives at more than 80 years of
age. Otherwise, the government must provide a legally permissible reason why it
won't include her, which it failed to do previously—and which PETA believes
How You Can Help
Orcas, dolphins, and other marine mammals belong in the sea,
not the Seaquarium. Please never visit any marine park or aquarium where these smart, social, and sensitive animals are held captive.
Update 2: Fulfilling
their part of the settlement agreement that was reached following the filing of
the lawsuit described below, PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund have
submitted their petition to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) asking
for Lolita to be included in the Endangered Species Act listing of the Southern
To uphold its end of the agreement, NMFS must reconsider Lolita's
endangered status and include her in the listing or provide a legally
permissible reason why it won't—as the service failed to do when it listed the
Southern Residents. An endangered listing for Lolita would prohibit the Miami
Seaquarium from harming and harassing her by forcing her to perform in an
unlawfully small tank and could ultimately lead to her rejoining her
85-year-old mother and the rest of her pod.
Update: We have a promising development to report. Following the filing of our lawsuit, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has agreed to reconsider its exclusion of Lolita from the Endangered Species Act listing of the Southern Resident orcas—the family from which she was taken more than 40 years ago.
Under this agreement, PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund will submit a new petition asking for Lolita to be included in the listing, and NMFS must make a decision based solely on the biological status of the orcas—whether the population is threatened or endangered—within the legally required time frame. The time has come for the government to give Lolita the same protection offered to her family in the wild and reunite her with her pod, whose calls she recognized when they were played to her even after decades in captivity!
Originally posted August 23:
PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and other plaintiffs in
a lawsuit challenging the illegal exclusion of Lolita—an orca captured as a calf in 1970 who has since been held captive and forced to
perform at the Miami Seaquarium—from protection under the Endangered Species
Act (ESA) are appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
following a lower-court dismissal earlier this month.
jc.winkler|cc by 2.0Orcas are members of the dolphin family. They are also the largest
animals held in captivity. In the wild, orcas stay with their mothers
Without explanation, the National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS) excluded Lolita when it classified the southern resident orca population
as endangered, giving it protection from being harmed or harassed under the
ESA. Lolita has been without an orca companion since 1980 and lives in a much too
small tank that doesn't even meet minimal federal standards.
Both the federal government and the Seaquarium filed motions
to dismiss the suit brought against NMFS for excluding Lolita from the
endangered listing, and the lower-court judge ruled in their favor on technical grounds—despite the fact that all necessary procedures were carefully followed—without reaching
the merits of the case. But Lolita deserves her day in court, and PETA won't
rest until she's released into a seaside sanctuary in her home waters.
a polite e-mail to Eric C. Schwaab, NMFS assistant administrator for fisheries, urging the
agency to protect Lolita under the ESA. (Plus, of course, never ever buy a ticket to a marine park, an aquarium, or any other captive-animal
Written by PETA
Yesterday, PETA filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for illegally issuing a permit to an animal exhibitor that would allow the exhibitor to harm, harass, and wound endangered species.
PETA has found several instances in which the FWS issued endangered species permits—which may be issued for "scientific purposes" or to enhance survival of an endangered species—to seedy roadside zoos while improperly keeping the application and the permit from the public. Roadside zoos breed animals in deplorable conditions solely to turn a profit.
We filed suit over one particularly miserable menagerie, Windy Oaks Farm in Hanover, Virginia, which is under formal investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after chimpanzees escaped from their enclosures three times, prompting PETA to call for an investigation.
Although captive chimpanzees are not currently listed as endangered, Windy Oaks' lack of experience with and knowledge of these complex and dangerous animals is indicative of its overall incompetence. The zoo has been cited by the USDA for failing to document when it acquired and disposed of animals and whether the animals had received veterinary care in more than a year. Windy Oaks also keeps endangered lemurs and gibbons, two species that have been known to attack humans.
Since PETA and the rest of the public were denied the right to view and comment on this application for a permit, we are taking the matter to court. We will keep you updated.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
As one of his first orders of business, President Barack Obama has suspended a plan to remove several gray wolf populations from the Endangered Species List. Originally, the Interior Department wanted to remove the wolves from the list, thereby exposing them to harm and slaughter.
By taking this action, President Obama has saved some lives. It's estimated that as many as two-thirds of the gray wolf population would have been affected by the plan—meaning that 1,000 out of almost 1,500 wolves would have been in deep trouble.
Bravo, Mr. President!
Written by Lianne Turner
Our local Norfolk, Virginia, pizzerias, like others in the country, offer all sorts of vegan toppings, so when PETA heard that Sammy's Pizzeria in Niagara Falls was planning a buffalo wing boycott (No, Jessica, they actually come from chickens) that gave us an idea. Sammy's is boycotting buffalo wings because of the increased prices and a shortage of wings, but we have offered another suggestion: Serve soy chicken wings instead!
Sam Musolino, owner of Sammy's Pizzeria, is calling on all pizza places to join him in the buffalo boycott, and while it's great news that diners might not be buying into any chicken killing now … we think going faux would be perfect!
We're even offering a few "chicks" of our own to help serve the new menu item.
Please join us in telling Sammy how easy and delicious it can be to go vegetarian by posting a comment below.
So giving up meat helps polar bears. It also helps animals like cows, chickens, and pigs. Who also matter.
For you lucky folks who have HBO, this is just an FYI. For everyone else, just consider it another sadistic attempt to kick you while you’re down. If you haven’t seen I Am an Animal (the HBO documentary about PETA) yet—or if you want to check it out for a second time—it’s going to be on HBO On Demand until May 25. It’s really a fascinating outsider’s perspective on the inner workings of the organization and why we do what we do for animals. Also available on DVD, btw, so don’t despair if you only have basic cable.
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.
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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.