San Diego Native Uses Virtual Reality to Keep Visitors Away From SeaWorld

For Immediate Release:
March 9, 2017

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

San Diego – Lifelong San Diego resident Sidney Jesperson is on a mission: Five days a week, she stands in Balboa Park and invites visitors to the city and locals to try “I, Orca”—PETA’s state-of-the-art virtual reality experience, which allows participants to immerse themselves in what it feels like to be an orca held captive at SeaWorld.

Born and raised in San Diego, the 30-year-old has participated in successful grassroots campaigns such as persuading Whole Foods to end its rabbit meat pilot program and protesting Ringling Bros.’ performances in the city every year—and not only did the circus not go to San Diego this year, it’s also shutting down entirely in May.

Now, she has turned her attention to SeaWorld, which continues to display far-ranging orcas in shallow tanks, where they’re unable to swim freely, dive deep, or interact with their family pods. Jesperson and PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—are encouraging tourists to stick to animal-friendly San Diego attractions.

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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