SeaWorld Under Fire for False Animal Welfare Claims

PETA Calls For SEC Investigation After Abusement Park Misleads Investors Over Mistreatment of Marine Mammals

For Immediate Release:
August 20, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla.

PETA has sent a letter urging the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate SeaWorld for making false and misleading claims to investors at its annual meeting in June.

In response to a PETA question regarding SeaWorld trainers’ harmful practice of standing on dolphins’ faces during performances, a SeaWorld representative responded that the company would “never do anything that is harmful to our animals” and that it knows of “no dolphins that have been injured as a result of our presentations or interactions”—both inaccurate claims disproved by public information as well as expert opinion stating that dolphins have been injured in shows and other interactions at the parks and that captivity is physically and psychologically damaging to the orcas and other dolphins held at SeaWorld.

“SeaWorld is desperate to gloss over the suffering of dolphins who are packed into tiny tanks and forced to perform circus-style tricks at its parks,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Jared Goodman. “PETA is calling on authorities to hold this abusement park accountable if it’s found to have violated securities regulations by duping investors about the poor condition of animals in its custody.”

A recent veterinary report asserts that dolphins at all three SeaWorld parks have open wounds and extensive scarring on their faces and bodies. And 140 of them are squeezed into just seven small tanks and can’t escape attacks from other frustrated, aggressive dolphins. Forty-one orcas and numerous other animals have died at SeaWorld—many far short of their natural life expectancies—from causes such as bacterial infections and fractured skulls. Just last month, supported by damning photographic evidence showing dolphins at SeaWorld Orlando with open wounds and scarring on their lower jaws, PETA requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture investigate the facility for apparent violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that the SEC previously fined SeaWorld and its former CEO more than $5 million to settle fraud charges for misleading investors about the impact of the documentary Blackfish.

PETA opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit


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