Dolphin-Breeding Debate to Hit SeaWorld Annual Meeting

SeaWorld Shareholder PETA to Call for a Ban on Breeding Whales and Dolphins at Annual Meeting As New Campaign Launches on Abusement Park's Reopening Day

For Immediate Release:
June 9, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla. – This is the question a PETA representative will pose to SeaWorld executives and shareholders on Wednesday: “When will SeaWorld recognize that in order to survive, it must stop breeding dolphins and whales and move its long-suffering captive marine mammals to seaside sanctuaries?” It will come one day before the abusement park is set to reopen following its COVID-19 closure.

PETA supporters will be present at the park’s reopening to protest what they see as the continued exploitation of marine mammals to turn a buck.

When:    Thursday, June 11, 10 a.m.

Where:    7007 Sea World Dr., Orlando

“In nature, belugas and dolphins maintain dynamic relationships with large social networks, choose their own partners, and swim freely in the huge expanse of the ocean. But at SeaWorld, they’re used as breeding machines to create generations of animals who are confined for life in tiny, concrete tanks,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA wants SeaWorld to stop shipping these intelligent, social, deprived marine mammals from park to park to breed and start moving them to seaside sanctuaries.”

Following PETA’s previous campaign, SeaWorld agreed in February to stop allowing trainers to stand on dolphins’ faces and ride on their backs in cruel circus-style shows—but dolphins are still being bred, sometimes forcibly after being drugged.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, visit SeaWorldOfHurt.com.

PETA’s full shareholder statement follows.

My name is Melanie Johnson, and I have a question on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Even though SeaWorld has spent years trying to repair its image, which was badly damaged after the release of Blackfish, it’s clear that the tide of public opinion has turned against the company’s failing business model. When facilities across the country reopen as COVID-19 lockdowns end, public disdain for the practice of exploiting animals for entertainment will continue to pummel SeaWorld’s bottom line.

SeaWorld recognized this undeniable trend when it stopped breeding orcas and when it agreed to stop allowing trainers to stand on dolphins’ faces and ride on their backs in cruel circus-style shows. It knows that its remaining customers come for the new rides, concerts, and other amusements that don’t harm animals. Last month, PETA offered the company a quarter of a million dollars to help build a seaside sanctuary for the orcas and other dolphins it holds captive. SeaWorld can take the opportunity to reinvent itself at this crucial time, or it can sink along with other animal-exploiting businesses that don’t get with the times.

My question is this: When will SeaWorld recognize that in order to survive, it must stop breeding dolphins and whales and move its long-suffering captive marine mammals to seaside sanctuaries?

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“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