Written by Jeff Mackey
Update: Prompted by PETA's complaint about a child who
was bitten by a dolphin at SeaWorld, the USDA conducted an investigation and
cited the marine park for several violations of the Animal Welfare Act,
including the use of expired surgical materials, some almost a decade old. "The
use of expired medications and materials … is not an appropriate method to
treat injuries, or to prevent, control, & diagnose diseases," the
report noted. The USDA also documented that a dolphin tank and the areas
surrounding the orca performance tank were in disrepair, including containing cracked
and crumbling concrete and rusty beams that could pose a threat to the health
and safety of both the animals and workers. The USDA pointed out that the unsafe
conditions "might create a health risk if these pieces of concrete fall
off into the pool and get ingested, or if they become abrasive" and that they
"do not facilitate cleaning and disinfection."
Originally posted on December 3rd, 2012:
Following the release of video footage showing a dolphin biting the hand of a young girl at SeaWorld Orlando, PETA submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requesting an investigation to determine whether the incident stemmed from Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations.
The video shows 8-year-old Jillian Thomas feeding fish to the dolphin as part of the Dolphin Cove attraction at the park. When she raises up the paper carton used to hold the fish, the dolphin surges up to grab it, biting Jillian's hand in the process. The girl sustained puncture wounds to her hand, and the dolphin may have ingested the entire paper carton.
AWA regulations require that animal attractions have "sufficient distance and/or barriers between the animal and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of animals and the public." PETA has also asked the USDA to ensure that if the dolphin did ingest the carton, the animal receive proper veterinary care, per AWA requirements.
A similar incident occurred in 2006, when a dolphin's mouth had to be pried open to free a 7-year-old boy's hand. It was the second time in three weeks that a child had been bitten at the attraction, but SeaWorld refused to change anything.
These episodes provide further reminders (as if more were needed) of how little SeaWorld is concerned with safety in its parks—except, of course, for the protection of its ticket sales. Not only has its unwillingness to take necessary precautions caused children to be harmed, it's also resulted in severe injuries and even the deaths of its trainer and the animals it holds captive.
Even if SeaWorld implemented every safety procedure possible, though, life in captivity would still be miserable for the dolphins, orcas, and other animals imprisoned in its parks. Deprived of their families, social lives, and freedom of movement, these smart, sensitive beings grow increasingly frustrated, contributing to the risk for sudden, violent behavior.
Unlike SeaWorld, young Jillian is showing compassion—according to an Associated Press article, she prayed for the dolphin who bit her and hopes the animal "didn't get sick from eating the paper carton."
Teach kids to be kind: Please don't ever take your family to SeaWorld or any other attraction that holds animals captive in cages or tanks.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
Does this sound like déjà vu to you? A weekend
visitor to SeaWorld
in San Antonio has sent PETA disturbing photographs of a dolphin who appears to be missing a chunk of
flesh from his or her lower mandible. The injury is strikingly similar to the one sustained by an orca named Nakai
at the San Diego SeaWorld just a few months ago. Just as we
did for Nakai, PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) and requested an investigation into the cause of the dolphin's
In Nakai's case, the USDA listed the
orca's injury as being caused by a recessed track that holds gates that
separate two of the tanks. Another injury to another animal, also caused by SeaWorld's
dangerous enclosures, would demonstrate a clear violation of the Animal Welfare
states that facilities must be structurally sound and free from objects,
projections, or edges that may cause injury and that all animals must be
handled in a manner that does not cause physical harm.
But even without injurious enclosures,
SeaWorld still harms marine mammals by robbing them of everything that is
natural, pleasant, and important to them, such as living in family pods and swimming up to 100 miles a day
in the open ocean.
And SeaWorld sentences animals to an
early grave: Orcas, for instance, can expect to live an average of 30 to 50
years in the wild, and some live as long as 90 years. The median age for orcas in
captivity is only 9 years. The debilitating stress of captivity weakens the animals' immune systems. In
fact, some other weekend visitors to SeaWorld San Antonio reportedly told
employees about a shark who was lying belly-up in a tank and appeared to be
SeaWorld: Dangerous for human beings and deadly for marine animals.
Written by PETA
the death of a dolphin named Nea at the Brookfield Zoo on Monday, it was
business as usual when shows resumed the next day. Nea suffered a fractured
skull after apparently colliding with another dolphin. Staff were alerted to the
collision after hearing a "loud pop."
twisted logic, the zoo's senior vice president of "collections"
claimed the show resumed since the dolphins "love to do the demonstrations
because it is part of their normal behavior." For the record, dolphins' "normal
behavior" is swimming dozens of miles a day, not swimming in circles in a
© Photodisc/Sea Life/Getty Images
other animals have died in troubling circumstances at the Brookfield Zoo,
including Mame, an
elephant in her prime at age 34 who was found on the ground with serious
injuries, a 4-month-old tiger cub who lost his right foreleg and part of his
tail after being attacked by another tiger, a giraffe named Dusti,
and 16 stingrays used in the touch tank.
Now that scientists
have proved that dolphins
talk, let's use our own vocal cords to
converse with family and friends and remind them that every ticket purchased to
a zoo or aquarium means supporting the miserable lives and deaths of captive dolphins
and other animals.
by Jennifer O'Connor
After a brief glimmer of hope that the slaughter in Taiji, Japan, would not happen this year, it has belatedly begun. Of the 100 dolphins rounded up so far, half will be released and the other half will be sent to prison aquariums. Fifty pilot whales have been slaughtered.
But there is hope: Worldwide outrage prompted by the recent movie The Cove means that the future of the slaughter is uncertain, according to an anonymous official at the Taiji fisheries association.
There's still work to be done. Please contact your local Japanese embassy and express your disgust over the sale of dolphins to aquariums and the slaughter of pilot whales.
Written by Shawna Flavell
This past weekend, a dolphin named Sharky collided with another dolphin during a live “performance” and died shortly afterwards. The story has been doing the rounds of the international news media, which invariably uses terms like “freak accident” and “random,” interspersed with the occasional quote about the incident being “unfortunate”. Which is all very nice, I guess, but they’re missing a key point about this story: Dolphins don’t do well in captivity because they don’t belong there, and one tragedy or another is inevitable when these animals are required to perform tricks that are as unnatural to them as they are inhumane.
Sharky, like the vast majority of dolphins held captive in marine mammal parks, died a few decades short of his natural life expectancy. The only difference between his story and that of his counterparts around the country is that his story actually got reported on.
More info on marine mammal parks here.
Hayden Panettiere (the star of NBC’s Heroes), was so outraged about the hideous dolphin cull taking place in Japan right now that she went out herself to try and put a stop to it. Along with five of her friends, Hayden paddled out on a surfboard in an attempt to stop a pod of dolphins from reaching a cove where the Japanese fishermen were waiting to slaughter them, but was violently deterred by the men on the fishing boats, who used hooks and the boats’ propellers to stop her from reaching the animals. Here’s what she said about the situation:
"Some of us were hit by the boathook. But in the end all we really worried about was the dolphins. It was so incredibly sad. We were so close to them and they were sky hopping, jumping out of the water to see us. One little baby dolphin stuck his head out and kinda looked at me and the thought that it's no longer with us is really hard to take."
PETA is sending her a Compassionate Citizen award for her incredible bravery and her dedication to helping animals in need. I hate to have to use the obvious pun here, but you’re a hero, Hayden. Keep up the great work.
There’s more on this story, as well as footage of the horrific dolphin slaughter, on Sky News.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
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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.