Eighth-Grader Nets PETA Award for Persuading School Not to Take Trip to SeaWorld

School Also Awarded for Compassionate Decision to Steer Clear of Theme Park During Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Trip

For Immediate Release:
November 6, 2014

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Lafayette, Colo. – When Boulder County eighth-grader Phoebe Goldstein caught wind of her school’s planned trip to SeaWorld, she rushed to encourage school officials to reconsider patronizing the park, knowing that it’s where orcas and other animals are held in small barren concrete tanks and forced to perform circus-style tricks for food. And her work paid off: Dawson School altered the trip’s itinerary to omit the SeaWorld visit. In recognition of their efforts, TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—will present Phoebe with a Hero to Orcas Award and Dawson School with a Compassionate School Award.

“This young woman’s compassionate decision to take a stand for captive orcas sends a powerful message,” says PETA Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “PETA’s TeachKind staff hopes teachers around the country will follow her example and cross SeaWorld and other animal parks off their lists for field trips.”

In the wake of Blackfish, SeaWorld has fallen out of favor with the public, celebrities, and educators alike. Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School in Malibu, Calif., canceled its traditional fifth-grade field trip to SeaWorld, and the class received a commendation from the City Council for its ethical stand. Numerous musical acts—including Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, and REO Speedwagon—canceled performances at the park. PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” also got the plug pulled on SeaWorld’s 50th anniversary bash in New York City after showing the venue the cruelty inherent in the amusement park’s operation.

At least 37 orcas and dozens of dolphins have died at U.S. SeaWorld facilities from causes such as severe trauma, intestinal gangrene, and chronic cardiovascular failure, and the federal government has cited SeaWorld facilities for violating the Animal Welfare Act. Humans have also paid a price, including a trainer who was killed after being seized by a frustrated orca, thrashed around violently, and held under water to drown.

For more information, please visit PETA’s website SeaWorldOfHurt.com.

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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