PETA Files SeaWorld Shareholder Resolution: Get Orcas to Seaside Sanctuaries

Group Wants Vote on Releasing Captive Whales and Swapping Shows for ‘Edutainment’

For Immediate Release:
January 8, 2014

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla.

It’s a first: PETA has used its position as a SeaWorld stockholder to submit a resolution calling on the amusement park to develop coastal sanctuaries where orcas can be rehabilitated  and retired. The sea pens would protect orcas from the misery and harassment of captivity and protect trainers from orca aggression and attacks  while allowing SeaWorld to conduct an innovative—and a profitable—business through “whale watching” centers near the sanctuaries, where visitors could observe the orcas, take educational tours and learn about the animals’ natural behavior and habitats, and enjoy cafés and gift shops.

The move comes as controversy plagues the park after the release of the hit documentary Blackfish, which exposed how SeaWorld tears baby orcas away from their loving mothers and other pod members, forcing them into a lifetime of physical and psychological suffering from the constant deprivation of captivity.

“Orcas suffer every moment of their lives in SeaWorld’s concrete tanks, but PETA is offering a solution that would let SeaWorld make money while giving these animals some semblance of a natural life,” says PETA Animal Behavior Specialist Julia Gallucci. “The smartest decision for investors is to vote to move the orcas to sea pens.”

As the resolution points out, orcas suffer in SeaWorld’s tanks, which are only a fraction of the 100-mile range that orcas in the wild swim in a single day. The sea pens would allow the animals greater freedom of movement and the opportunity to see, sense, and communicate with their wild cousins and other ocean animals. They would have some degree of autonomy and self-determination, family groups could be preserved, and incompatible animals wouldn’t be forced to interact. In addition, employees would remain at a safe distance at all times—a crucial business move, as SeaWorld lists more than 100 incidents of aggression from frustrated and deprived orcas, including trainer injuries and deaths, in its own incomplete records.

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