SeaWorld Offered a Quarter of a Million Dollars to Agree to Sanctuary Plan

Latest CEO Shakeup Prompts PETA Offer

For Immediate Release:
April 6, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla. – Because SeaWorld CEO Sergio Rivera has resigned (the company’s fourth CEO to do so in the last five years), the parks are closed to visitors, and 90% of its employees have been furloughed, PETA sent a letter today to interim CEO Marc Swanson offering a quarter of a million dollars toward building a seaside sanctuary—if SeaWorld agrees to release all the orcas, other dolphins, and whales it holds captive there into seaside sanctuaries, a move that other aquatic parks are already making.

“This is SeaWorld’s moment to win back all the families who won’t pay to see marine mammals being deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them and trapped in concrete cells,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA will pay up to get the ball rolling on a seaside sanctuary where orcas, other dolphins, and whales could finally dive deep, feel the ocean currents, and enjoy a more natural life.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

PETA’s letter to Swanson follows.

April 6, 2020

Marc Swanson

Interim CEO

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.

Dear Mr. Swanson,

After yet another SeaWorld CEO fled the burning deck, welcome back to your role as interim CEO. Since you’ve inherited an operation from which more than 90% of employees have been furloughed and the company’s parks are shut down during the pandemic, we have a bright new proposition for you: PETA will donate a quarter of a million dollars toward building a seaside sanctuary in exchange for a binding agreement stipulating that you will release the orcas, other dolphins, and whales SeaWorld is now denying any semblance of happiness or a natural life.

In your new position, you have the opportunity to retire the marine animals in SeaWorld’s concrete cells and make the park a modern family attraction. In a seaside sanctuary, these wonderful, complex, emotional, and intelligent animals could finally be able to dive deep, feel ocean currents, and live as they should, all while receiving care, food, and veterinary support. This is your moment to do the right thing and win back hundreds of thousands of families who now steer clear of what they rightly perceive as abusement parks.

The world is rapidly moving away from the use of animals as living amusements. It’s no longer considered acceptable to deny them their natural lives and hold them in captivity. In the U.S., the National Aquarium is building the dolphins in its care a seaside sanctuary. Two whales have been moved from a marine park in China to a seaside sanctuary in Iceland, and The Whale Sanctuary Project just announced plans for a seaside sanctuary for rescued orcas and belugas in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Please, let us know that you will seize this opportunity to do right by these animals at long last.


Ingrid E. Newkirk


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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