Shareholder Resolution—’Create Orca Sanctuaries’—Could Fix SeaWorld

PETA Wants Vote on Releasing the Captive Animals Into Coastal Sanctuaries for Rehabilitation

For Immediate Release:
December 16, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla.

SeaWorld’s profits have dropped, its stock has tanked, its corporate partners have fled, its CEO is stepping down, and a Consumerist poll named it one of the worst companies in the U.S.—but in a surprise twist, PETA believes the company can still be saved. Today, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—used its position as a SeaWorld stockholder to submit a resolution calling on the park to develop coastal sanctuaries where orcas can be rehabilitated and retired.

PETA points out that the sea pens would protect orcas from the misery and harassment of captivity at SeaWorld. SeaWorld could then outfit its theme parks with state-of-the-art augmented or virtual reality marine-mammal experiences that would allow visitors to learn about and interact with marine life in new and innovative ways—without imprisoning any animals.

“State-of-the art virtual reality is a much bigger draw to today’s kind audiences than SeaWorld’s sad orca-circus shows,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA’s resolution would spare orcas enormous suffering—and it may be the only way to keep SeaWorld in business.”

As the resolution points out—and as many people learned from the hard-hitting documentary Blackfish—in nature, orcas travel up to 100 miles every day in their complex and closely knit family groups, but at SeaWorld, they’re housed in incompatible groups in tanks that, to them, are the size of a bathtub. Stress and aggression lead them to break their teeth by snapping and gnawing at pool gates, and they’re given psychotropic drugs to quell aggression among them.

In the last year, the Orca Welfare and Safety Act in California has threatened the legality of holding orcas in captivity in the state. SeaWorld is even facing a lawsuit from its own shareholders accusing the company of misleading investors about the impact that Blackfish is having on the health of the company.

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