Experts Will Challenge SeaWorld’s Continuation of Orca Captivity, Announce Plan for Sea Sanctuaries

PETA, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Mental Health Expert, and a Veterinarian Will Join Together for Landmark News Conference

For Immediate Release:
April 27, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

San Diego

Orcas at SeaWorld are suffering from symptoms of psychological distress similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and must be moved to seaside sanctuaries, according to a group of prominent researchers who will offer details at a special PETA-led news conference today—when, for the first time, experts in human health, animal behavior, and neuroscience will come together to help orcas. The panel will discuss how captivity in SeaWorld’s tanks physically and mentally harms orcas and other animals and will announce that a formal seaside sanctuary project is officially underway.

When:        Wednesday, April 27, 11 a.m.

Where:       Sheraton Mission Valley, 1433 Camino del Rio S., Navigator Room, San Diego

“Orcas are sensitive, are intelligent, and lead complex emotional lives—and decades of deprivation have left these captive animals with psychological scars like those suffered by soldiers or victims of traumatic accidents and loss,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “There is a plan underway to create seaside sanctuaries where orcas and dolphins could find some relief from this constant pain, and PETA is calling on SeaWorld to make it happen now.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has gathered a panel of experts, including neuroscientist and leading researcher in whale and dolphin brain anatomy Dr. Lori Marino, who will discuss the important components of a seaside sanctuary for orcas.

Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of the Ocean Futures Society, will detail his successful experience with the Keiko reintroduction effort and the years Keiko lived in his home waters as well as the need for carefully managed seaside sanctuaries. Dr. Hope Ferdowsian, a double board-certified physician in general internal medicine and general preventive medicine and public health, will speak on the consequences of chronic stress, trauma, and deprivation to the physical and psychological health and well-being of humans and animals. PETA wildlife veterinarian Dr. Heather Rally will discuss how orcas will continue to suffer as long as they are displayed at SeaWorld.

Video will be available following the news conference. For more information, please visit

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.