Will the Obama Girls Be the Next SeaWorld Protesters? peta2 Hopes So!

After First Daughters Receive Gift of ‘Adopted’ Orcas, peta2 Asks Them to Help Speak Up for All Orcas

For Immediate Release:
June 16, 2015

Moira Colley 202-483-7382


Last week, Malia and Sasha Obama received a symbolic gift of two “adopted” endangered Southern Resident orcas. And in a letter sent to the first daughters this morning, peta2—PETA’s youth division—asks them to help protect all orcas by speaking out against SeaWorld and other cruel marine parks.

As peta2—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out, part of the reason Southern Resident orcas are endangered is because of the capture and incidental killings of orcas in the wild for SeaWorld and other marine parks, such as the 1965 capture of a young orca later named Shamu. And orcas today still suffer: At SeaWorld, they have nothing to do but bite cage bars and swim in endless circles in concrete tanks that, to them, are the size of a bathtub.

“The president himself said that the White House bathtub isn’t big enough to hold orcas, and that’s just as true at SeaWorld,” says peta2 Director Marta Holmberg. “peta2 hopes Malia and Sasha will join the throngs of young people who are calling on SeaWorld to ditch the cruel circus-style shows and build natural seaside sanctuaries.”

For more information, please visit peta2.com.

peta2’s letter to Malia and Sasha Obama follows.

June 16, 2015

Sasha and Malia Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Sasha and Malia,

I am writing to you on behalf of peta2—the youth division at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)—and our network of more than a million young people who speak up for animals. We were really excited to learn about the gifts of symbolic orca adoptions that you received recently, and we hope you’ll speak up for all orcas. As you know, animals need our help, and I urge you to help other orcas who are unlucky enough to be kidnapped from the wild or born into captivity and sentenced to a lifetime of suffering at marine parks.

We were also thrilled that your father responded by saying, “I’m not so sure the White House bathtub is big enough for us to be able to adopt these whales.” And he’s right. While orcas in the wild travel up to 100 miles per day in complex, closely knit groups, at SeaWorld parks, they’re confined to tanks that are the human equivalent of a bathtub! These sensitive, intelligent animals are kept in small tanks and grouped incompatibly, and they often break their teeth and endure chronic pain from snapping and gnawing at the pool gates as a result of stress and aggression.

Southern Resident orcas became endangered in part because of SeaWorld and other marine parks. In 1965, hunters captured a young Southern Resident killer whale after harpooning and killing her mother, and they named her Shamu. This kicked off a decade of cruel captures and killings of orcas in U.S. waters, until 1976, when SeaWorld was chased out of Washington state after longtime Secretary of State Ralph Munro (then an aide to the governor) observed how SeaWorld’s captors dropped explosives from airplanes into the ocean. The Southern Resident orca population was reduced by more than 30 percent and still has not bounced back.

Will you join us in urging SeaWorld and other cruel marine parks—including the Miami Seaquarium, where Lolita, the only surviving Southern Resident orca in captivity, languishes without another orca—to retire the orcas to seaside sanctuaries, where they could feel and experience the ocean, hear their extended families, and live as natural a life as possible? As SeaWorld’s image continues to suffer and Ringling Bros. prepares to phase out its elephant acts, it has never been clearer that animals are not ours to use and that young people won’t put up with cruelty to animals for the sake of silly performances any longer.

I’d love to hear from you!

Sincerely yours,

Rachelle Owen Senior Manager of Youth Campaigns, PETA

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