New Damning Veterinary Report Exposes That SeaWorld Is Housing Physically Damaged, Distressed Animals

PETA Schedules News Conference to Discuss Findings, Call for Immediate Federal Action

For Immediate Release:
October 20, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

San Diego

PETA is filing a complaint calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to send inspectors to SeaWorld San Diego, where PETA Foundation veterinarian Dr. Heather Rally, who is experienced working with marine mammals, has found scars and lesions on dolphins, orcas, and other animals; witnessed unprotected and unsupervised contact between visitors and aggressive animals; and observed listless animals engaging in abnormal, repetitive behavior likely caused by stress, among other apparent violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

Dr. Rally and Ric O’Barry, the focus of the Academy Award–winning documentary The Cove, will present these findings at a news conference on Tuesday:

When:   Tuesday, October 21, noon

Where:  W San Diego Hotel, 421 W. B St., Studio 2, 3rd Flr., San Diego

“This veterinary report confirms that SeaWorld is causing animals to suffer both physically and psychologically in hopelessly inadequate tanks,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is asking families to stay far away from SeaWorld, where deprived orcas can do nothing but swim in endless circles, stressed dolphins take their aggression out on one another, and a walrus in solitary confinement is reduced to regurgitating his food out of boredom.”

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” and PETA’s complaint notes the following apparent AWA violations:

  • Orcas, dolphins, belugas, and pilot whales are suffering from marks and scars that are likely the result of unsafe enclosures or of housing incompatible animals together, leading to interpersonal aggression.
  • Visitors are put into unsupervised direct contact with dolphins who appear aggressive (and could bite) and who suffer from skin conditions indicative of depressed immune systems.
  • A highly social walrus, sometimes confined alone, swims in endless circles and repeatedly regurgitates his food—established signs of stress and deprivation.
  • Orcas also exhibit abnormal behavior that indicates psychological distress, including floating listlessly and repeatedly opening and closing their mouths.

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