SeaWorld’s Circus-Style Shows Come Under Fire

Cartoonish Displays of Human Domination of Animals Likely Prohibited by Theme Park’s Accreditation: PETA Files Complaint With Zoo Authority

For Immediate Release:
August 11, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

San Diego

This morning, PETA sent a formal complaint to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) requesting an immediate investigation of the circus-style “Pets Ahoy” and “Pets Rule!” displays at SeaWorld, in which animals—including emus, kangaroos, macaws, skunks, rats, pigs, ducks, and doves—are forced to walk on tightropes, climb ladders, jump through hoops, and perform other meaningless, uncomfortable tricks that are unnatural to them.

As PETA—whose motto says, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes in its letter, the AZA requires that animal shows at accredited facilities such as SeaWorld have an educational and conservation message, and the “Pets Ahoy” and “Pets Rule!” shows fail that test, actually contradicting and belittling the animals’ behavior in nature. The exhibitor behind the shows, Joel Slaven’s Professional Animals (JSPA), is not AZA-accredited and, as a further violation of AZA guidelines, has a history of Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations for failing to provide animals with proper veterinary care, sticking highly social primates in solitary confinement, confining animals to grossly undersized enclosures as well as unsafe ones, and more—including at all three SeaWorld facilities.

“‘Pets Ahoy’ and ‘Pets Rule!’ are shameful shows that mock all we know about conservation education—and PETA believes that they also violate the national accreditation standards that SeaWorld is required to meet,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to require SeaWorld to stop doing business with exhibitors that compromise animals’ health, safety, and welfare.”

It has just been announced that SeaWorld’s stock is at its lowest-ever level. PETA, as a strategic stockholder, is now renewing its call for SeaWorld to let the orcas out of the tanks and into spacious offshore coastal sanctuaries.

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