Written by PETA
From plane flyovers to 18-hour tub-ins, people are saying "enough" to SeaWorld's exploitation of orcas, bottlenose dolphins, and other animals. And now, even if you live nowhere near Orlando, San Antonio, or San Diego—where SeaWorld forces marine mammals to spend their entire lives in tiny tanks—you can still make a difference for animals if you RSVP to our virtual protest on Facebook and participate in it on June 18.
SeaWorld, which owns most of the captive orcas and bottlenose dolphins in the U.S., has a hideous history of animal exploitation. Marine mammals suffer for years in tanks that are only a few times larger than their bodies. They are never able to swim freely, feel the ocean current, or enjoy life in a closely knit pod, and they die far short of the life span that they would enjoy if they lived in the ocean where they belong. And the park's death toll is staggering, counting not only orcas such as Taima, her mother, and her stillborn calf but also humans, including the trainer who was killed by Tilly the orca in February.
If you RSVP for the Facebook event now and update your Facebook status with a comment about SeaWorld on Friday, you and all the friends you can muster can show park officials that their deadly attraction belongs in the history books.
Spread the word to your friends and family: Never buy a ticket to SeaWorld.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
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.
Two female orcas at SeaWorld Orlando are pregnant—one is expected to give birth later this month or in early June—but we're not celebrating.
If the calves survive, what do they have to look forward to? Swimming endless circles in barren concrete tanks, doing circus-type tricks, and dying an early death. Twenty-one orcas died in U.S. SeaWorld facilities between 1986 and 2008—an average of nearly one each year for 22 years. Their deaths were caused by severe trauma, intestinal gangrene, acute hemorrhagic pneumonia, pulmonary abscesses, chronic kidney disease, chronic cardiovascular failure, septicemia, and influenza. In some cases, the cause of death could not even be determined, but it is clear that none of these animals died of old age.
The father in both of the pregnancies is Tilikum, the same orca who attacked trainer Dawn Brancheau—ripping off her left arm and part of her scalp, crushing her ribs, and breaking bones throughout her body before drowning her. Despite knowing about the extreme danger posed by Tilikum—including the fact that he had killed humans twice before—SeaWorld refuses to "Free Tilly" most likely because he's a valuable and prodigious breeder. Tilikum has already sired 13 calves for SeaWorld.
Enough is enough. Please take a moment to write to the Blackstone Group—the company that owns SeaWorld—and ask that it send Tilly and the other animal inmates in its facilities to sanctuaries.
Written by Paula Moore
Forget the Alamo; There's something else for Texans to remember—the imprisonment of Tilly the orca:
Today, PETA's billboard went up near SeaWorld San Antonio to remind Texans not to mess with marine mammals. Our plea to free Tilly and other captive wild animals comes on the heels of last week's congressional hearing about marine abusement parks, to which PETA submitted testimony urging a ban on the confinement of orcas and other wild animals at SeaWorld and other profiteering prison-parks.
So what can you do? Remind everyone to steer clear of marine animal exhibits. And if you're looking for an animal-friendly place to visit this summer, I hear the Alamo is an interesting place to go.
Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth
Remember Keiko? As you may recall, Keiko was a wild orca who was captured in Iceland in 1979 and sold to a series of aquariums, where he was forced to perform tricks for food. He became sick and severely depressed. In 1993, after the movie Free Willy prompted a call for his retirement, Keiko was moved to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where he was rehabilitated before being transferred to an ocean pen in Iceland. For five healthy years he lived free near wild orcas, hunting and catching his own food. At one point, he navigated more than 1,000 kilometers of open ocean as he made his way to Norway before dying in 2003.
After the tragic death of a trainer at SeaWorld last month, we called on the park to release Tilly and the rest of the animals the corporation keeps penned up in tiny pools. As a result of our plea, we received calls and e-mails from many people who were all wondering: Is it possible to release a captive animal back into his or her natural habitat?
It's a good question, and those with legitimate concerns about captive animals' ability to fend for themselves will probably also ask: Can the risk of failure outweigh the opportunity to experience freedom? And even if there are risks, don't animals deserve some measure of the freedom they've been denied?
Of course, when we talk about releasing the animals at SeaWorld into the wild, they wouldn't simply be dumped into the ocean. The process would be a considerable undertaking, with marine biologists, animal behaviorists, and scientists involved in the animals' rehabilitation.
For those sea animals whose health or behavior has been too compromised by having spent years—or decades—in cramped, chemically treated tanks, there's a humane alternative to outright release. Protected sea pens would allow greater freedom of movement; the ability to see, sense, and communicate with their wild cousins and other ocean animals as well as to feel the tides and waves; and opportunities to engage in natural behavior that they've long been denied. At the same time, caregivers would be able to provide food and other needed care.
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.
Another day, another strand unravels from SeaWorld's carefully crafted damage-control campaign in the wake of the tragic death of a trainer at the Orlando park last week. The scandal du jour is that, back in 2007, after a trainer at the San Diego SeaWorld nearly drowned after being dragged underwater by an orca, the California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) issued a report concluding that a fatal attack on a SeaWorld trainer was "inevitable" and not a matter of "if" but "when."
But the Cal/OSHA backpedaled on its warning after SeaWorld whined and moaned and claimed that the report was "full of inaccuracies and speculation" and described the staffer who wrote it as "uninformed and reckless." Interesting choice of words: Who's looking reckless now, SeaWorld?
But wait—there's more! According to a former SeaWorld trainer quoted in the Los Angeles Times' blog, Unleashed, because Tilly is a male orca being forced to live in unnaturally close quarters with females in a matriarchal society, he is a fish out of water, so to speak—he has no solid position in the pecking order. As a result, he has to be kept separated from the other whales with gates. In a somewhat cryptically worded statement, the former SeaWorld trainer mentioned that "threat-displays" and "less room to maneuver because of his massive size" have resulted in Tilly's teeth being "broken off." In short, "he doesn't have any viable teeth left." Reading between the lines, we can only wonder if Tilly is so frustrated and maddened by his plight that he has systematically broken off all his own teeth by gnawing on and bashing his head against gates. Wow, aside from that little matter of killing three people, he sounds so happy and well-adjusted, doesn't he?
You can read more about SeaWorld's miserable and short-lived orcas in an essaypenned by Debbie Leahy, PETA's director of captive animal rescue and enforcement, that appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and several other newspapers.
Written by Alisa Mullins
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.