Written by Michelle Kretzer
SeaWorld decided to offer up 20
million shares of common stock in an initial public offering, no one expected PETA to
be one of the first in line to buy.
But Wall Street was
in for a surprise. We quickly
purchased the smallest number of shares necessary to
give us the right to attend and speak at annual meetings and to submit shareholder resolutions asking for policy
changes. Our first order of business as part owners of SeaWorld? Getting the
orcas out—including Corky,
been enslaved by SeaWorld for 44 years.
will educate stockholders about how marine parks tear orcas and dolphins away
from their homes and families and imprison them in minuscule concrete tanks,
where they suffer from captivity-induced
stress and illness.
And of course meanwhile, PETA and our
supporters will continue trying to win freedom for orcas and dolphins as soon as possible by
telling everyone that these animals live in a SeaWorldofHurt.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Update: Prompted by PETA's complaint about a child who
was bitten by a dolphin at SeaWorld, the USDA conducted an investigation and
cited the marine park for several violations of the Animal Welfare Act,
including the use of expired surgical materials, some almost a decade old. "The
use of expired medications and materials … is not an appropriate method to
treat injuries, or to prevent, control, & diagnose diseases," the
report noted. The USDA also documented that a dolphin tank and the areas
surrounding the orca performance tank were in disrepair, including containing cracked
and crumbling concrete and rusty beams that could pose a threat to the health
and safety of both the animals and workers. The USDA pointed out that the unsafe
conditions "might create a health risk if these pieces of concrete fall
off into the pool and get ingested, or if they become abrasive" and that they
"do not facilitate cleaning and disinfection."
Originally posted on December 3rd, 2012:
Following the release of video footage showing a dolphin biting the hand of a young girl at SeaWorld Orlando, PETA submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requesting an investigation to determine whether the incident stemmed from Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations.
The video shows 8-year-old Jillian Thomas feeding fish to the dolphin as part of the Dolphin Cove attraction at the park. When she raises up the paper carton used to hold the fish, the dolphin surges up to grab it, biting Jillian's hand in the process. The girl sustained puncture wounds to her hand, and the dolphin may have ingested the entire paper carton.
AWA regulations require that animal attractions have "sufficient distance and/or barriers between the animal and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of animals and the public." PETA has also asked the USDA to ensure that if the dolphin did ingest the carton, the animal receive proper veterinary care, per AWA requirements.
A similar incident occurred in 2006, when a dolphin's mouth had to be pried open to free a 7-year-old boy's hand. It was the second time in three weeks that a child had been bitten at the attraction, but SeaWorld refused to change anything.
These episodes provide further reminders (as if more were needed) of how little SeaWorld is concerned with safety in its parks—except, of course, for the protection of its ticket sales. Not only has its unwillingness to take necessary precautions caused children to be harmed, it's also resulted in severe injuries and even the deaths of its trainer and the animals it holds captive.
Even if SeaWorld implemented every safety procedure possible, though, life in captivity would still be miserable for the dolphins, orcas, and other animals imprisoned in its parks. Deprived of their families, social lives, and freedom of movement, these smart, sensitive beings grow increasingly frustrated, contributing to the risk for sudden, violent behavior.
Unlike SeaWorld, young Jillian is showing compassion—according to an Associated Press article, she prayed for the dolphin who bit her and hopes the animal "didn't get sick from eating the paper carton."
Teach kids to be kind: Please don't ever take your family to SeaWorld or any other attraction that holds animals captive in cages or tanks.
Written by Alisa Mullins
A newspaper exposé has led to an investigation by Ontario's Environment Ministry into four mass animal graves at the province's Marineland theme park. According to a former park employee, the graves contain the bodies of more than 1,000 animals, including orcas, dolphins, seals, walruses, bears, bison, and deer.
Former marine-mammal trainer Phil Demers described one particularly gruesome incident to a reporter from the Toronto Star. After an orca named Kandu died in December 2005, he was buried on the park's grounds. But staffers failed to obtain brain tissue samples during the whale's necropsy, so Demers and another trainer were assigned the macabre task of exhuming Kandu's body two weeks later.
"He was not frozen and it smelled so bad and there was blood all over the place," says Demers. "I was elbow deep in the pit in a reddish orangey sludge and we both kept coming up to vomit. It was gross."
Graveyard of Niagara Falls
The graves may be illegal, since Ontario requires waste permits to dispose of animal corpses and the park apparently had no such permits. Government officials are also concerned about possible contamination of the water and soil, especially because of the graves' close proximity to the Welland River, which feeds nearby Niagara Falls.
PETA has been campaigning against Marineland for years, citing the park's abysmal conditions and the high mortality rate among young whales and dolphins. The park also has a long history of obtaining wild-caught beluga whales, dolphins, and orcas, including Keiko, aka "Willy" from the movie Free Willy, whom Marineland sold to an even more depressing park in Mexico, where he languished for years before being rescued and rehabilitated. This summer, Demers and seven other former trainers came forward to report numerous instances of neglect and abuse, including serious damage to animals' skin and eyes because of filthy, tainted water.
Alarmingly, Ontario is Canada's only province that does not regulate the keeping and displaying of exotic animals or conduct public-safety inspections. Parks like Marineland are allowed to "police" themselves, and Marineland's mass graves are silent testimony to how good—or bad—of a job it's doing.
You Can Help
Refuse to patronize any marine park, including SeaWorld, which also has a tragic track record. Please voice your objections about the lack of adequate captive-animal protection laws in Ontario to Premier Dalton McGuinty:
The Honourable Dalton McGuinty
Premier of OntarioRm. 281, Main Legislative Bldg., Queen's ParkToronto, Ontario M7A 1A4416-325-7578 (fax)
Does this sound like déjà vu to you? A weekend
visitor to SeaWorld
in San Antonio has sent PETA disturbing photographs of a dolphin who appears to be missing a chunk of
flesh from his or her lower mandible. The injury is strikingly similar to the one sustained by an orca named Nakai
at the San Diego SeaWorld just a few months ago. Just as we
did for Nakai, PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) and requested an investigation into the cause of the dolphin's
In Nakai's case, the USDA listed the
orca's injury as being caused by a recessed track that holds gates that
separate two of the tanks. Another injury to another animal, also caused by SeaWorld's
dangerous enclosures, would demonstrate a clear violation of the Animal Welfare
states that facilities must be structurally sound and free from objects,
projections, or edges that may cause injury and that all animals must be
handled in a manner that does not cause physical harm.
But even without injurious enclosures,
SeaWorld still harms marine mammals by robbing them of everything that is
natural, pleasant, and important to them, such as living in family pods and swimming up to 100 miles a day
in the open ocean.
And SeaWorld sentences animals to an
early grave: Orcas, for instance, can expect to live an average of 30 to 50
years in the wild, and some live as long as 90 years. The median age for orcas in
captivity is only 9 years. The debilitating stress of captivity weakens the animals' immune systems. In
fact, some other weekend visitors to SeaWorld San Antonio reportedly told
employees about a shark who was lying belly-up in a tank and appeared to be
SeaWorld: Dangerous for human beings and deadly for marine animals.
The Goddess of Pop is also a goddess to
pups. When Cher tweeted, asking for information from PETA on how to help dogs left to face the harsh
winter weather alone outdoors, many of her fans responded, and PETA sent her information on our "Angels for Animals"
doghouse sponsorship program.
Elsewhere on Twitter, Miley Cyrus showed us some puppy love, Sam
Simon spoke out for dolphins, and Olivia
Munn helped us celebrate our victory for three soon-to-be-released elephants.
Charlotte Bobcats and Kentucky Wildcats
fans already knew that the NBA's youngest player, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (MKG), is also a really kind person, and now MKG is proving it to animal advocates,
too. When the gentle giant was ready to share his home with a new dog, he adopted a puppy who had been
abandoned in the parking lot of the Humane Society of Charlotte.
Maybe fellow rescued-dog parent Chelsea Handler will invite Michael and his new pup on her show. Her conversations with guests
often do turn to animal issues—like when Marion Cotillard stopped by and she and Chelsea both shared their disdain for SeaWorld.
You'll never catch our buddy Christian Serratos at SeaWorld, either—but you will catch her gracing the list of the 50 Brightest Latino Stars Under
25, with fellow PETA pals Daniella
Monet and Marlen Esparza.
Awards abound for animal advocates this
week: Paul McCartney,
Pink, Carrie Underwood, Steve Aoki, Ellen DeGeneres, Trent Reznor, and Tegan and Sara have all been nominated
E!'s Catt Sadler lifted her voice
for animals this week, too. She openly joined the ranks of the fur-free and
fabulous in her piece "Real Stars Who Love Fake Fur," in which she
name-dropped our friends Eva
Mendes and Charlize Theron.
To keep up with what
all your favorite stars are doing for animals, follow @PETA on Twitter.
might be ditching dairy products, and we're nodding our heads like "Yeah!"
It all started when Mileybird tweeted, "Worst tummy ache ever. No more lactose for me." We
quickly responded to tell Miley that she wasn't alone and that she should be
proud to be dairy-free. We included a link to information on delicious dairy-free
milks and a link to one
of our undercover investigations of a dairy farm,
and Miley responded, "[O]h my god those photos make me feel even more
sick. HAS GOT TO STOP!"
Then she retweeted our action alert asking Walmart to ban its suppliers from cruelly confining pigs to gestation
crates. If Miley wants help planning a vegan wedding, her friends here are happy to
It looks like there's a vegan baby
shower in Kristen Bell and
Dax Shepard's future. The cruelty-free couple is expecting their first child, and PETA sent Kristen what might be her first gift: a copy of Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven.
There might be a
new baby in Kristen
Stewart's future as well. She and boyfriend Robert Pattinson are reportedly thinking about rescuing another dog.
Rescued dogs are always the rage on Twitter, like Krysten Ritter's little
And it's a battle of the accents for our
favorite gal this week:
French beauty Marion Cotillard and SeaWorld are never, ever, ever getting back together. The actor
plays a marine park trainer in the controversial new film Rust and Bone, and she says that seeing marine mammals in captivity
made her believe that they deserve better. "I'd rather see whales in their
own environment and not in a swimming pool," she said. "I will never
go back to a SeaWorld."
Irish-bred Hollywood legend
Anjelica Huston told O Magazine that she enjoys
working with PETA because "I think we have to pay more attention to how we
treat animals: the great
apes trained for our entertainment, carriage horses left outside in intense heat and cold, polar bears confined in zoos. Animals can't talk, so it's up to us to speak for them."
and vegetarian Sophie Monk
is designing a diamond jewelry collection and plans
to donate 10 percent of the
proceeds to help PETA save animals.
And everyone's favorite animal-friendly
McCartney, is the Brits' favorite designer, too: She was named British Designer of the Year, proving that
compassion is always in fashion and never has to include skins stolen from animals.
To keep up with what all your favorite
stars are doing for animals, follow @PETA on Twitter.
The grisly photos of Nakai, an orca imprisoned at SeaWorld who has a dinner plate–size gaping wound on his lower mandible that he likely sustained when another orca attacked him, have sparked nationwide outrage.
As PETA alleged in its complaint to government regulators, SeaWorld confined Nakai to a small tank with other orcas with whom he was not compatible, in clear violation of the Animal Welfare Act, and then tried to cover up its orca abuse following the attack by claiming that Nakai injured himself on the side of the pool. A huge, impassioned crowd gathered outside SeaWorld San Diego, where Nakai is kept, to let residents know to steer clear of the marine-mammal prison.
If the response they got is any indication, the protesters were preaching to the choir. People who were stopped at red lights waved and cheered their support and took leaflets with them. And there were so many honks from the passing cars that advocates who were giving interviews to the throngs of reporters had to keep starting over.
People all across the country are telling SeaWorld to get out of the cruelty business. Urge The Blackstone Group, which owns SeaWorld, to retire its marine mammals to sanctuaries.
After visiting SeaWorld and taking photographs
of Nakai's injury (two of which are shown below), Dr. Ingrid N. Visser, founder
and principal scientist of the Orca Research Trust, found that there are "puncture
marks that match orca teeth spacing," which "is a clear indication
that an altercation between the orcas was involved." The puncture marks in
question can be seen at the bottom right of the wound in the first photo below:
©Ingrid N. Visser, Ph.D.
This evidence strongly suggests that Nakai's wound was
indeed caused by a bite resulting from incompatible confinement rather than
contacting with the side of the pool, as SeaWorld has alleged.
Originally posted September 28:
Following a serious and gruesome injury to an orca in an
avoidable attack, PETA has submitted a complaint asking the U.S. Department of
Agriculture to take disciplinary action against SeaWorld for housing orcas
incompatibly in violation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
As you can see in these disturbing photographs, Nakai, an 11-year-old
male orca at SeaWorld in San Diego, sustained a laceration so significant that,
as a whistleblower said, "a dinner plate-sized chunk of his lower mandible [has been] sheared off,
exposing underlying tissues, and bone." The flesh cut from him "was
big enough and intact enough for SeaWorld to retrieve it from the bottom of the
According to the whistleblower's report to journalist Tim Zimmermann, Nakai's injury was
a result of "a major altercation" between Nakai and two other orcas,
Keet and Ikaika. The AWA makes it clear that "marine mammals that are not
compatible must not be housed in the same enclosure." Yet SeaWorld parks
have a long history of housing incompatible orcas from widely divergent groups together in
enclosures—and the result has been stress, agitation, aggressive and bloody raking, serious injury, and
It's clear that SeaWorld can't be trusted to make the safety
and well-being of marine animals its top priority. Please don't ever visit
SeaWorld (or any other marine-mammal park)—and tell company executives why you won't support the abuse of Nakai and the other intelligent, complex animals
they've imprisoned and enslaved.
some aquariums are still willing to host raucous parties despite knowing that
the pounding music is hell
on marine mammals' sensitive sonar systems, more progressive
aquariums are refusing. Case in point: Rocker Tony Kanal teamed up with PETA to
let the under-construction Ripley's
Aquarium of Canada in Toronto know that rock belongs
in arenas, not aquariums. Here's his letter asking the aquarium not to allow
rowdy parties if it intends to keep whales and dolphins in the building:
immediately, Tony received this positive response:
your concerns regarding loud noises on marine mammals in both the wild as well
as in marine facilities. I would like to inform you that we will not be holding
marine mammals in our aquarium.
your concerns regarding loud noises on marine mammals in both the wild as well
as in marine facilities. I would like to inform you that we will not be holding
marine mammals in our aquarium.
only is Ripley's saving whales and dolphins from becoming disoriented and
agitated when deafening music disrupts their ability to navigate and
communicate via sonar, the aquarium is also saving them from the lifetime of
frustration, illness, and stress that they would have had in captivity.
all marine mammals deserve their freedom, the least that aquariums can do is
not torment them with blasting music. Join Jane Lynch in asking Atlanta Pride to move its
upcoming party to a more humane venue
than the Georgia Aquarium, and join Tommy Lee in asking SeaWorld to cancel its loud
"Shamu Rocks" shows.
Eight trainers at Marineland in Niagara
Falls, Ontario, have handed in their resignations and are speaking out to the Toronto Star about the cruel and abusive conditions at the marine animal
prison, which PETA has been after for years.
Because they were made to sign nondisclosure
agreements about what goes on behind the scenes at the park, many of the
trainers asked not to be identified by name. But former trainer Phil Demers,
who quit the park after 12 years, gave a daring on-camera interview describing the abuse he witnessed:
(Video courtesy of thestar.com)
has had our sights on Marineland for some time, writing letters to Canadian
officials and asking them to take action to improve conditions at the park.
Now, Marineland owner
John Holer's own trainers are
accusing the park of cruelty to animals, including the following:
When questioned about the insufficient
staff, dirty water, and untimely death of a baby beluga, Marineland owner John
Holer offered this chilling answer: "[F]or people and all living things,
there is a time to live and a time to die."
Perhaps his cavalier attitude explains
the more than 40 whale and
dolphin deaths at Marineland since the park's
inception. The park, along with fellow marine animal prison SeaWorld, earned a spot on PETA's list of deadly destinations, a register of places that
anyone who cares about animals should avoid like the plague.
Please voice your objections about the lack of adequate laws
to protect captive animals to Premier Dalton McGuinty:
Premier of Ontario
Rm. 281, Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A4
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.