Dolphin Bite at SeaWorld Prompts Federal Complaint

Dolphin Latched Onto Child's Wrist in Latest Incident at Troubled Park

For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

San Antonio – After learning of a February 22 incident in which a captive dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio’s Dolphin Cove—where visitors are encouraged to pet dolphins despite disease and behavioral risks—latched onto the hand and wrist of a 9-year-old girl so tightly that the child’s mother was unable to free her and a SeaWorld employee had to intervene, PETA sent an urgent request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking the agency to investigate the incident. The girl sustained bite marks and swelling to her hand and wrist. PETA is asking the agency to hold SeaWorld accountable for endangering both the dolphin and the public in violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

“It’s stressful enough for far-ranging dolphins to be locked up in SeaWorld’s tiny tanks, but forcing them to interact with visitors is downright dangerous,” says general counsel to PETA Jeff Kerr. “SeaWorld’s ‘Dolphin Cove’ is another example of how the park’s main priority is profit, not the welfare of the animals or the safety of its guests.”

In the wild, dolphins can swim at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and travel as far as 100 miles in a day. But at SeaWorld, these highly intelligent social animals are confined to tiny, barren concrete tanks—a physically and psychologically damaging environment. Many children have been bitten by stressed animals at SeaWorld’s parks, most recently in December 2012, when an 8-year-old girl sustained puncture wounds while hand-feeding a dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando. And many more trainers have been injured and even killed by animals at SeaWorld—the park has more than 100 incidents of orca aggression in its own incomplete records.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind