San Diego Students Snag PETA Award for ‘Dear SeaWorld’ Video Appeal

Blackfish Prompts Point Loma High School Classes to Tell Theme Park, ‘Stop Using Animals for Entertainment’

For Immediate Release:
November 7, 2013

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

San Diego —  The hard-hitting documentary Blackfish is making waves across the country—including in San Diego’s Point Loma High School, where the students in Anthony Palmiotto’s cinematic arts and video production classes were so moved by the documentary that they pledged never to buy another ticket to the park. And to underscore their decision, the students wrote, starred in, and edited a moving video—titled “Dear SeaWorld”—in which they take the park to task for kidnapping orcas from their ocean homes and sticking them in tiny concrete tanks, where they face shorter life expectancies and act out aggressively against human trainers.

In recognition of the students’ creative efforts to call attention to SeaWorld’s cruelty to animals, the classes will receive Compassionate Classroom Awards from peta2, PETA’s youth division.

“Students across the country have been horrified to learn that behind SeaWorld’s rides and stuffed animals, there’s a decades-long history of depriving orcas of everything that’s natural and important to them,” says peta2 Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “peta2 hopes Mr. Palmiotto’s classes will inspire more young people to find creative, powerful ways to speak out against SeaWorld’s cruel, circus-style orca and dolphin shows.”

Blackfish—which becomes available on Netflix on November 12—tells the story of Tilikum, the orca who killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, his third human victim, in 2010. The film uses Tilikum’s story to explore how locking intelligent, sensitive marine mammals—who, in the wild, share intricate relationships with their family pods and swim as far as 100 miles every day—in tanks leads them to violent acts of frustration. This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of Tilikum’s capture from his family in the wild.

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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