PETA Backs Student Petition to Nix School Events at SeaWorld

Group Offers to Defray Costs of Moving Prom Away From Abusement Park

For Immediate Release:
May 9, 2014

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

San Diego – Seventeen-year-old Zach Affolter’s petition calling on the Poway Unified School District to cut all ties with SeaWorld has already garnered more than 1,100 signatures—and now, the high school junior’s campaign is receiving national support from TeachKind, PETA’s educational division.

The group is sending a DVD of the hit documentary Blackfish—which exposes how SeaWorld separates baby orcas from their mothers and condemns them to a life of constant deprivation in tiny concrete tanks—to district administrators, along with a letter asking that the district set a positive example for students by no longer coordinating field trips to a theme park that celebrates cruelty to animals. A second letter sent to Mt. Carmel High School asks the school to cancel its current plan to hold its prom at SeaWorld and offers to foot the bill for moving the event to an animal-friendly venue. TeachKind is also offering to coordinate classroom presentations that will open a dialog with students about SeaWorld’s history of causing premature orca deaths and deadly incidents of orca aggression and violating the federal Animal Welfare Act.

“A theme park that locks orcas and dolphins in tiny tanks of chemically treated water, drugs them, and separates them from their families is no place to take impressionable young students,” says Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “Poway schools have a duty to stop sending students the dangerous message that it’s OK to abuse and exploit animals.”

In the wake of Blackfish, SeaWorld has fallen out of favor with the public, celebrities, and educators alike. Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School in Malibu canceled its traditional fifth-grade field trip to SeaWorld, and the class received a commendation from the City Council for its ethical stand. And numerous musical acts—including Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, and REO Speedwagon—have canceled performances at the park.

For more information, please visit PETA’s website

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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