PETA members bearing signs that read, “Fake Scenery, Real Misery,” gathered on Friday as the California Coastal Commission considers SeaWorld’s permit application for purely cosmetic changes to its orca tank. The protesters pointed out that SeaWorld’s proposed above-water decorations, including artificial trees and a false coastal backdrop, are shallow marketing ploys that are designed to impress visitors—but do nothing for orcas.
“SeaWorld’s bid to decorate its tiny concrete tanks with a fake ocean backdrop makes a mockery of the orcas’ desperate desire to swim free, feel the ocean currents, and answer their families’ calls,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “SeaWorld needs to stop with the smoke and mirrors and focus on retiring these long-suffering orcas to seaside sanctuaries.”
In the wild, orcas share intricate social relationships, work cooperatively to find food, and can traverse up to 100 miles of ocean every day. Orcas in captivity are separated from their families—including babies who are torn away from their mothers—swim in endless circles, and often lash out violently in frustration at each other and humans.
What You Can Do
If the orcas aren’t sent to sanctuaries, they could spend decades in captivity. Urge SeaWorld to retire them and to stop using all animals. Until then, stay away from any attraction that uses animals. Buying a ticket only supports their abuse.