Update: SeaWorld Dodges Sexual Abuse Question

For Immediate Release:
June 11, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla.

During today’s annual meeting of shareholders, SeaWorld dodged PETA’s question, submitted by actor and PETA Honorary Director Kate del Castillo. We had asked the company when it would stop sexually abusing and forcibly impregnating dolphins and whales and instead transfer them to seaside sanctuaries. SeaWorld deflected by claiming—despite widespread expert and industry support for sanctuaries—that a transfer would be too “risky” and did not even address the sexual abuse of dolphins.

Please see the following statement from PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman:

Ignoring PETA’s question about the sexual abuse of dolphins and offering shareholders misinformation about sea sanctuaries doesn’t change the fact that SeaWorld is drugging dolphins so that they can’t fight back, impregnating them via inserted tubes, and using them and their babies in circus-style shows. The company will lose generations of compassionate customers unless it stops breeding generations of animals for lives of misery in its tanks.

PETA notes that the 60 experts on the board of The Whale Sanctuary Project have endorsed seaside sanctuaries—safe ocean coves in which captive orcas and other marine mammals who have been deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them can thrive in the sea while still receiving care, feeding, and veterinary support—and that the National Aquarium in Baltimore is creating a seaside sanctuary for the dolphins in its care.

PETA’s statement and question, which was submitted by Kate del Castillo, is available here.

SeaWorld’s response:

“One of our shareholders, PETA, has submitted a question about investments in entertainment and interactive digital technologies, as well as about seaside sanctuaries. Thank you for your question. Thank you for your long-term investment in and support for our company, we share a common passion for animals and their care. With respect to seaside sanctuaries, this question has been answered by experts, scientists, environmentalists and others who agree that sea pens are not humane. For killer whales, sea pens are risky, and would expose these animals to harmful pollutants and toxins in the water. In fact, no killer whale born in captivity has ever been successfully released into a sea pen or the wild. No one who cares for these animals would advocate for sea pens if they understood this science or the outcomes of taking such action. Foremost experts on marine mammals including dolphins and orcas reside here at SeaWorld and we care deeply about their wellbeing. We welcome people to come to our parks, see our animal care specialists, and be educated and inspired by what we know will be in their best interests for both the animals in our parks and those in the wild. With respect to investments, as you know, we have made and continue to make significant investments in rides, attractions and events and other entertainment offerings including interactive technology experiences that complement our educational and conservation oriented animal presentations and the unique animal experiences and habitats we have in our parks. The combination of these unique offerings allowed us to generate record net income and adjusted EBITA in 2019, prior to COVID-19 and amongst the strongest financial performance in the company’s history for the first quarter of 2021.”

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