This morning, PETA submitted official comments to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) calling on the organization not to renew SeaWorld’s accreditation, to be decided this month at the AZA Accreditation Commission hearing.
As documented by PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” SeaWorld’s continued disregard for the animals in its care stands in violation of many of the AZA’s accreditation standards, which require that all animals be well cared for and housed in appropriate settings and that accredited facilities provide visitors with an educational experience while meeting the animals’ physical, psychological, and social needs.
“SeaWorld has sentenced far-ranging marine mammals to a lifetime of suffering in physically and psychologically damaging tiny concrete tanks,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to hold SeaWorld accountable for its colossal failure to provide the animals it holds captive with a sufficient standard of care.”
In the wild, orcas share intricate relationships, traverse vast expanses of ocean every day, and work cooperatively to find food. At SeaWorld, they are forced to perform circus-style tricks for food and are sometimes even given the drug diazepam to manage stress-induced aggressive behavior. Following the release of Blackfish, attendance at SeaWorld parks dropped, businesses ended longtime partnerships with it, and it was named one of the worst companies in the U.S. in a Consumerist poll.