Update: PETA Settles SeaWorld Stingray Death Lawsuit

For Immediate Release:
May 27, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Brookfield, Ill. PETA’s lawsuit seeking records related to the deaths of 54 stingrays, who were on loan from SeaWorld, at the Brookfield Zoo has reached a settlement. PETA will receive the records and recoup $9,000 in attorneys’ fees—and the Chicago Zoological Society will certify that it is no longer engaged in any business relationship with SeaWorld and does not plan to enter into one in the future.

“SeaWorld’s days of stocking Brookfield Zoo’s touch tanks with sensitive stingrays are over,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Jared Goodman. “This settlement finally allows the public to look at the zoo’s relationship with this controversial company and the mass deaths of animals on loan from it.”

The stingrays died in 2015 after a reported but unspecified “malfunction” with the exhibit’s life-support system caused the oxygen level in the tank to plummet. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC), which has contracted with the Chicago Zoological Society to run Brookfield Zoo, refused to provide PETA with records related to both the cause of the tank’s malfunction and the nature of the zoo’s ties with SeaWorld under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, prompting PETA to file suit in 2018. Under the settlement, reached after the FPDCC attempted to have the case dismissed last year, PETA will have access to these records.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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