Well this can’t be too big of a surprise. After sending their own marine mammal veterinarian, Dr. Heather Rally, to SeaWorld, PETA is now filing a complaint that will call the U.S. Department of Agriculture to send inspectors to SeaWorld in San Diego. The complaint was issued as a result of Rally’s findings while at the marine park.
According to the report, Rally found “scars and lesions on dolphins, orcas, and other animals; witnessed unprotected and unsupervised contact between visitors and aggressive animals; and observed listless animals engaging in abnormal, repetitive behavior likely caused by stress, among other apparent violations of federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).”
SeaWorld has been under huge scrutiny since early 2013 when the documentary “Blackfish” made its life changing debut. The film chronicles the life of Tilikum – a performing orca who killed his trainer – while addressing other important topics in animal captivity. The film has had a noticeable impact on the park, since its release SeaWorld’s attendance dropped by 13 percent.
Ric O’Barry (the man who serves as the main focus for the Academy Award-winning documentary, “The Cove”) will be accompanying Rally in a news conference this week that will discuss the findings of the PETA report and potentially call for “immediate federal action.”
PETA President, Ingrid Newkirk, stated, “This veterinary report confirms that SeaWorld is causing animals to suffer both physically and psychologically in hopelessly inadequate tanks. PETA is asking families to stay far away from SeaWorld, where deprived orcas can do nothing but swim in endless circles, stressed dolphins take their aggression out on one another, and a walrus in solitary confinement is reduced to regurgitating his food out of boredom.”
PETA prides itself on preaching the motto “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” The organization’s complaint will highlight multiple AWA violations, one of which being that orcas are displaying abnormal behaviors (such as floating at the top of tank enclosures) that indicate signs of stress. PETA also intends on addressing the mental health of a SeaWorld owned walrus as well as the physical health of physically damaged captive cetaceans.
The meeting will be held on October 21 in San Diego. Only time will tell what further actions PETA can take against the multi-billion dollar marine park.
Image source: Antoine Taveneaux/Wikimedia Commons