Dolphin Memorial Sought at Redeveloped SeaWorld Site

PETA Asks City Council to Honor 10 Dolphins Who Died While Abusement Park Was in Business

For Immediate Release:
September 24, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382


On the heels of the city council’s vote to redevelop the former SeaWorld Ohio site, PETA sent a letter today asking the council members for permission to place a memorial honoring the 10 dolphins who died during the park’s operation.

In the letter, PETA points out that many of the dolphins died prematurely—from systemic infection, lung disease, and gastrointestinal disease, among other causes—and that 140 other dolphins are still imprisoned today in just seven small tanks at SeaWorld’s remaining parks. A recent expert report revealed that many dolphins at the parks had open wounds and extensive scarring—yet trainers still ride on their backs and stand on their faces during sea circus performances.

“SeaWorld Ohio may be a footnote in Aurora’s history, but the 10 dolphins who died there shouldn’t be forgotten,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA intends to pay tribute to their suffering and to the many dozens of dolphins who are still trapped in tiny tanks, ridden like surfboards, and forcibly bred in other SeaWorld parks across the country.”

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

PETA’s letter to the members of the Aurora City Council follows.

September 24, 2019

Aurora City Council

Dear Council Members Barner, Grandillo, Hatridge, Horvat, Kovach, Kudley, McDougald, Vaca, and Wolf,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide following yesterday’s vote to redevelop the site of a former SeaWorld park. As this land is transformed for new businesses and homes, will you please allow us to place a memorial so that the animal suffering and deaths at the abusement park won’t be forgotten?

When SeaWorld Ohio was still in business, taking animals away from their families and confining them to cramped tanks, 10 dolphins died at the park, many of them prematurely, from causes such as systemic infection, lung disease, and gastrointestinal disease.

While dolphins are no longer held captive at this location, at other SeaWorld parks across the country, 140 of them are squeezed into just seven small tanks, where they can’t escape attacks from other frustrated, aggressive dolphins. They’re forcibly bred—sometimes after being drugged—and they’re used in cruel circus-style shows in which “trainers” stand on their faces and ride on their backs like surfboards.

In nature, orcas may swim as far as 140 miles in a day and bottlenose dolphins may swim up to 60 miles a day, dive to depths of nearly 1,500 feet, and maintain dynamic relationships within a large social network. Yet 10 dolphins died in cramped tanks in Aurora, and hundreds of others are still suffering for human entertainment.

We hope you’ll agree that a memorial to the dolphins who died at SeaWorld would go a long way toward ensuring that others don’t endure the same fate in the future. Thank you for your consideration.

Yours truly,

Donna Tiu

Animals in Entertainment Campaign Coordinator

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