SeaWorld Ends ‘Dolphin Surfing’ After PETA Pressure

Trainers Will No Longer Stand on Dolphins' Faces or Ride on Their Backs—PETA Says It's a Start

For Immediate Release:
February 5, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla. – Following a months-long PETA campaign that included a damning veterinary report, a shareholder question asked by Alec Baldwin, numerous local ads, and more, SeaWorld admits in response to PETA’s latest shareholder proposal that it has stopped making trainers ride on dolphins’ backs and will soon end their practice of standing on dolphins’ faces in abhorrent circus-style shows. In response, PETA has withdrawn its shareholder proposal calling for an end to these cruel practices.

“Stopping trainers from treating dolphins like surfboards means less abuse at SeaWorld, but orcas and other dolphins continue to suffer in tiny concrete tanks,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “The company seems intent on being dragged, kicking and screaming, into ultimately releasing these animals to seaside sanctuaries. PETA is calling on it to put a plan in place now.”

Dolphins in nature swim up to 60 miles a day, dive to depths of nearly 1,500 feet, and maintain dynamic relationships within a large social network. But at SeaWorld, they’re packed into shallow tanks in which they can’t escape attacks from other frustrated, aggressive dolphins. During the circus-style stunts, a dolphin’s lower jaw, which is highly sensitive and crucial for hearing, bears nearly the full force of the trainer’s bodyweight. PETA’s veterinary report also found that dolphins at all three parks have open wounds and extensive scarring on their faces and bodies.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—purchased stock in SeaWorld when it first became publicly available in 2013. The group previously withdrew its 2016 shareholder resolution calling on SeaWorld to end its orca-breeding program after the company did just that.

For more information, please visit SeaWorldOfHurt.com.

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“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