Lone Orca’s Plight Prompts Call for Criminal Charges

PETA Urges Florida State Attorney to Charge Miami Seaquarium Over the Cruel Confinement of Far-Ranging Marine Mammal

For Immediate Release:
May 26, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Miami – This morning, PETA fired off a letter to Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, calling on her to investigate and pursue cruelty-to-animals charges against the Miami Seaquarium over its abusive treatment of the orca Lolita, who’s been confined to what is thought to be the smallest orca tank in the world since she was taken from the ocean and her family 49 years ago.

In the letter, PETA points out that because Lolita is held in a small, shallow, barren concrete tank with no fellow orcas, she’s unable to engage in natural behavior, such as diving, swimming long distances, seeking shelter from the sun, feeling ocean currents, and forming social relationships with others of her own species. She displays repetitive and abnormal behavior, which, according to marine mammal experts, indicates severe psychological trauma. PETA contends that the Miami Seaquarium’s infliction of extreme stress, agitation, injury, and suffering—including its failure to provide her with relief from the summer sun—violates the state’s cruelty-to-animals law.

“For decades, Lolita has languished in a tiny tank with no real life and no shelter from the blazing sun above her. She’s attacked by dolphins and forced to perform tricks for rewards of dead fish,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on state officials to charge the Miami Seaquarium for its cruelty to this highly intelligent animal in the hope of getting her out of there.”

For years, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has pushed the Miami Seaquarium to send Lolita to a seaside sanctuary, where she could dive to great depths, swim long distances, and engage in all the natural behavior that she’s been deprived of for so long.

PETA opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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