For Immediate Release:
September 22, 2021
David Perle 202-483-7382
Winter Garden, Fla. – West Orange High School is planning to hold its October 2 homecoming at SeaWorld, where orcas and other marine mammals only wish they could go home, so TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—sent a letter today to the school’s principal, Matthew Turner, pointing out that Florida law specifically requires schools to teach “[k]indness to animals” and offering to cover the cost of moving homecoming from a sea life prison to an animal-friendly location and to deliver vegan soft serve ice cream for all attendees.
TeachKind notes that SeaWorld confines far-ranging animals to cramped concrete tanks, where many have died prematurely from fractured skulls, bacterial infections, and other ailments—so the school’s apparent endorsement of the abusement park would send students a message that keeping orcas and other dolphins captive is cool, contrary to the state mandate.
“While West Orange celebrates its first homecoming since 2019, some orcas have been in lockdown inside SeaWorld’s concrete tanks for longer than homecoming attendees have been alive,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “PETA and TeachKind encourage the school to give students a state-mandated lesson in kindness to animals by changing its homecoming plans, and we’d be happy to help.”
More than 40 orcas, 300 other dolphins and whales, 400 pinnipeds, and countless other animals have died at SeaWorld. Those who are still alive may face decades of misery: Katina the orca has been at SeaWorld Orlando since 1984. While orcas in their ocean homes swim vast distances with their family pods, Katina is confined to a concrete tank with incompatible tankmates, is forced to perform meaningless tricks for food, and has nothing to do but float listlessly and swim in endless circles as the years go by.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.