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Until SeaWorld Shuts Down, the Toll of Victims Will Mount

Written by PETA | February 26, 2010 / CC

Eyebrows are shooting up in the animal protection world, as SeaWorld has hired professional animal entertainer Jack Hanna to sing its praises in public. Given his own record of responsibility for numerous animal attacks (including an incident in which a chimpanzee he was using in a public display bit off a 5-year-old girl’s finger) and his history of using underage animals who should be with their mothers instead of in noisy crowds and under bright lights, Hanna seems a good fit for SeaWorld. Despite its heavy public relations efforts, the marine park has a long history of getting away with murder while turning a fast buck. For example, the statements from SeaWorld about what a surprise, shock, and accident it was that the orca Tilly had drowned and pounded a seasoned trainer to death in Orlando deserve careful scrutiny. It was the third time that that particular orca had killed a human being (Tilly’s son also killed a trainer last year in Spain), both other deaths having also been dismissed by the amusement park as “accidental” when they were likely anything but. The marine amusement park environment is rife with deaths, close calls, and injuries.

As Jason Hribal writes in his soon-to-be-released book, Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance, Tilly and two of the other orcas came from Sealand of the Pacific in Canada, a facility that closed shortly after all three whales were involved in a fatal attack on a trainer. That attack, “carried out by Nootka, Haida, and Tilikum left the park in a public relations freefall. Administrators promised changes. New safety procedures would be initiated. Physical contact between the trainers and whales will no longer be allowed. Guardrails will be installed along the poolside to prevent slips or bites.” All the same things that SeaWorld is saying as it hopes for the story of the trainer’s death to go away. But in Canada, back then, public pressure did not let up. As Hribal writes, “Between the daily protests at the park’s front gates, national demands that the orcas be released back to the ocean, and the city council’s entrance into the debate, Sealand’s will crumbled. In August of 1991, the park reached a startling decision. ‘After a lot of thought and discussion,’ the director clarified, ‘it was decided killer whales should be phased out.’ … The twenty-nine year old institution had closed permanently.”

Commenting is closed.
  • Jack Latson says:

    Thanks for the correction on my post Samantha. My apologies to Raymond. It was Bill Tatum who made the comment. And I am glad you meantioned the polar bears at Sea World. Sea World has many animals that it abuses by keeping them in confined areas. Most of these animals need space to roam whether on land or sea. Confining them must be like confining us to a claustrophically small space.

  • JS says:

    After reading the article and everyone’s great comments I feel inspired but also quite helpless… How and what can we actually do??? Here I sit in my office in RSA and crave to help free animals in foreign countries!! One comment wrt protesting against KFCMcD etc is VERY inspiring so why don’t we ALL send a fax or three to our local community leadersor political representatives asking them to take whatever animal matter that bothers us further ‘up the chain’…?! And if nothing happens in a few months try again OR PROTEST outside their offices!! I’m certainly going to try with local cruelty issues. As much I want to see Tilly and family free we don’t have SeaWorld in Cape Town but we do have very poor townships with animals that need my help. Thanks for a great site great comments and a loving sentiment

  • Joan says:

    Over the course of many years and as a compassionate aunt who doesnt want her nieces and nephew to visit Sea World I have tried to draw a parallel between captive marine animals and humans. Ive asked my nieces and nephews if they would like to live only in their bedrooms until the house becomes available when company is over or for some exercise. I dont want to make my beloved wee ones cry and I get no support from any other family member. Has anyone heard of an enlightenment program for children? Maybe I can also enlighten the adults in my family?

  • Anonymous says:

    I had never heard Ingrid speak until her show down with Hanna on CNN. Thought this would be some raving lunatic. Instead an articulate fact based educated calm woman. Hanna came off as the out of control ranter throwing insults as let’s face it the circus act is his bread and butter. There is so much technology out there to educate people about wildlife. Like the movie industry who has moved to animation rather than real life Cheetahs. It is time to end this cruel entertainment. If Sea World really cares about these creatures they would jump on this way to educate the public. Hopefully people will quit attending these shows. And let’s quit blaming Dawn heck free flowing hair would have given her a better chance at survival maybe lost some hair but perhaps not her life. RIP Dawn no doubt Tilikum suffers for your companionship these days. Plus what was that thing hanging on her neck an orca could grab? And where was her back up? I would also like to know what cruel and unusual punishment the NOAA person and the Cal OSHA person suffered for doing their jobs and writing honest reports in the history of this industry? Are they still employed? Who are they? Where are they? Would also like to know if cortisol and hormones were taken from Tilikum after the incident what about water quality samples in the tank? In other words where is the science? Ingrid you are awesome! Jack look like a Jack A…I have lost any respect I had for him but think Larry King and many are afraid he will not bring his animals on their shows so they tip toe around him.

  • gregory smith says:

    How can a pool replace the ocean these poor beings are in prisonseaworld should be on america s hardest prisons when i see this going on in the world it is very hard to believe in god but I know of one angel Ingrid Newkirk.Taking your children to places like seaworld is child abuse it will wreck them for life and create people with no respect for life.