Giant ‘Orca’ Launched in Campaign to Free SeaWorld Captives

Listless, Life-Size 3-D Orca Urges People to Help Send Marine Mammals to Seaside Sanctuaries—and Avoid Abusement Parks

For Immediate Release:
March 14, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

San Diego

Just in time for the spring break crowds, a PETA truck giving the illusion that it’s transporting a listless orca in a cramped tank is driving around the city—home of SeaWorld San Diego—to urge people to steer clear of the notorious abusement park, where marine mammals who should be swimming up to 140 miles a day in the ocean are held prisoner in cramped concrete boxes. The sign on the realistic image proclaims, “Collapsed Fins. Broken Teeth. Tiny Cell. Prisoner of SeaWorld. Don’t Go!”

“Far-ranging, complex orcas’ bodies and minds break down as they’re forced to swim in endless circles day after day in SeaWorld’s cramped tanks,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA’s lifelike orca will draw attention to the profound suffering that these animals endure in captivity and, hopefully, inspire kind people to avoid SeaWorld until it stops holding orcas and other animals captive.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a supremacist worldview. In the wild, orcas may travel as far as 140 miles in a day with their family pods. But at SeaWorld, they swim listlessly in circles in chemical-filled water inside barren tanks that, to them, are the size of a bathtub. Many have severely damaged teeth, sometimes caused by gnawing on the metal bars of the tanks out of stress. More than 40 orcas—including 30-year-old Kayla—have died on SeaWorld’s watch, from causes such as severe trauma, intestinal gangrene, and chronic cardiovascular failure. Not one came close to the maximum life expectancy of the species in nature.

PETA has long called on SeaWorld to develop seaside sanctuaries for the orcas, pointing out that the National Aquarium is currently constructing a dolphin sanctuary and that a marine park in China has plans to move two whales to an open-water sanctuary in Iceland. Numerous organizations and companies—including the Miami Dolphins, STA Travel, and JetBlue, Southwest, and United airlines—have ended their affiliations with SeaWorld.

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