Written by PETA
Officials at SeeJailed—oops, I mean SeaWorld—have announced the results of their Facebook poll asking what the marine abusement park should name its newest inmate, a baby killer whale. The winning name is Makaio, from Hawaiian words meaning "gift of God."
Since PETA's quick survey reveals that five out of five gods do not approve of imprisoning animals or forcing them to do often dangerous tricks, let's have a redo: Cast your vote in our poll below to help select a more appropriate name for the baby orca:
What should be the name for SeaWorld's new baby killer whale?online surveys
Cast your vote now! Then take action on SeaWorld!
Two female orcas at SeaWorld Orlando are pregnant—one is expected to give birth later this month or in early June—but we're not celebrating.
If the calves survive, what do they have to look forward to? Swimming endless circles in barren concrete tanks, doing circus-type tricks, and dying an early death. Twenty-one orcas died in U.S. SeaWorld facilities between 1986 and 2008—an average of nearly one each year for 22 years. Their deaths were caused by severe trauma, intestinal gangrene, acute hemorrhagic pneumonia, pulmonary abscesses, chronic kidney disease, chronic cardiovascular failure, septicemia, and influenza. In some cases, the cause of death could not even be determined, but it is clear that none of these animals died of old age.
The father in both of the pregnancies is Tilikum, the same orca who attacked trainer Dawn Brancheau—ripping off her left arm and part of her scalp, crushing her ribs, and breaking bones throughout her body before drowning her. Despite knowing about the extreme danger posed by Tilikum—including the fact that he had killed humans twice before—SeaWorld refuses to "Free Tilly" most likely because he's a valuable and prodigious breeder. Tilikum has already sired 13 calves for SeaWorld.
Enough is enough. Please take a moment to write to the Blackstone Group—the company that owns SeaWorld—and ask that it send Tilly and the other animal inmates in its facilities to sanctuaries.
Written by Paula Moore
Today, the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife is holding a hearing to discuss the "educational value" of marine amusement parks and the recent death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was dragged under water and battered to death by Tilly, a 12,000-pound captive orca.
PETA submitted testimony calling on federal authorities to prohibit the confinement of orcas (killer whales) at SeaWorld and other marine-mammal parks.
In a spin that would make Dick Cheney proud, SeaWorld execs explained that Dawn's killing (in which her scalp was removed, her arm was disconnected from her body, and her spine, ribs, and face were broken) was "play" gone awry. SeaWorld waited a mere three days before resuming its pricey orca shows, the newest of which is called "Believe," which includes "elaborate set pieces, state-of-the-art multimedia, music, and choreography." Sounds real "educational," doesn't it?
SeaWorld and other greedy for-profit parks leave visitors thinking that orcas are little more than wind-up toys, all called Shamu, when they are in fact highly intelligent predators who, in the wild, would swim up to 100 miles every day and who think, plan, and communicate … and hunt. Dawn was Tilly's third human victim. If Congress doesn't act, who will be number four? Everyone can help by spreading the word to stay away from SeaWorld and other marine theme parks when hitting the road this summer.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
A judge has temporarily ruled that video footage and photographs of the violent killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by Tilly the killer whale will not be made public. The fight over that will rage on, I'm sure. But the autopsy report has been released today, and it makes it very clear that Dawn Brancheau's last moments were filled with tremendous suffering. Despite massive public relations efforts on SeaWorld's part to smooth over the "incident"—i.e., death by killer whale—by characterizing it as "play" that went a bit wrong, the autopsy shows that Tilly was not in the mood for affection.
The six-page report reveals that Brancheau's left arm and part of her scalp were ripped off. She suffered spinal cord injuries, and her ribs as well as bones in her legs, arms, and face were broken. She had bruises and cuts all over her body. And she drowned.
As PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk states, "These were not love bites, but the vented fury of an angry and frustrated being who has been deprived of everything in life: family, friends, freedom—all for the sake of human profit and a few giggles."
The gory details of Dawn Brancheau's death are further evidence that animals who are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them throughout their entire miserable lives in sea parks, circuses, and zoos around the world will continue to attack and kill people whom they see as having a role in the denial of their freedom and family connections.
Whether by writing, tweeting, picketing, getting creative, or (ideally) doing all of the above and more, please help Tilly and the many other animals who are being held in captivity and deprived of everything that is natural to them. And the most important thing that anyone can do to help imprisoned animals is to refuse to patronize marine or other abusement parks.
Written by Karin Bennett
SeaWorld may have animal pimp "entertainer" Jack Hanna in its corner, but Tilly has Jean-Michel Cousteau on his side.
The world-renowned French explorer, environmentalist, film producer and, of course, son of Jacques-Yves Cousteau has issued a brief video statement addressing the cruelty and danger of keeping killer whales and dolphins imprisoned in marine amusement parks. Please don't miss this one, folks:
Jean-Michel Cousteau's video contains so many eloquent, logical statements that I had trouble picking just one favorite. Can you?
Back in the 1950s, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus in the segregated South. After learning of Parks' arrest, an African-American resident in Montgomery declared, "They've messed with the wrong one now."
Let's fast-forward to Virginia Beach, Virginia, 2009: Longtime PETA member and ardent animal defender Sheila Rybak was arrested outside a fur store where she'd been peacefully protesting. She was accused of causing an illegal ruckus by Maria Folch, who had "happened by" this off-road site in a full-length mink coat.
Unfortunately for Folch, Rybak doesn't take any injustice lying down. After Folch failed to show up at the first court hearing, Rybak sued for malicious prosecution. Makes sense right? Protests aren't illegal, and Rybak was only trying to spread the word about the hideously cruel fur industry.
Earlier this week, a jury found in Rybak's favor, and the court has ordered the defendant to pay $12,500 in damages. Here's the kicker: Rybak has declared that if Folch will hand over her full-length mink coat for use in PETA anti-fur displays and events, she'll call it even!
Talk about inspiring. What do you think?
What do you call it when a KFC is "closed for cruelty"? A goreclosure!
For more than a year, dedicated animal advocates have been holding monthly demonstrations outside a KFC in North Carolina to spread the word about KFC's tormented chickens—and watching the restaurant's business dwindle. Now, so many people have washed their hands of KFC's blood that the location has recently shut down!
The only thing better than vegan party food? Knowing that no chicken will ever leave that building in a KFC bucket again. Inspired to instigate a goreclosure in your community? Start organizing your own KFC protest today!
Written by Logan Scherer
Another day, another strand unravels from SeaWorld's carefully crafted damage-control campaign in the wake of the tragic death of a trainer at the Orlando park last week. The scandal du jour is that, back in 2007, after a trainer at the San Diego SeaWorld nearly drowned after being dragged underwater by an orca, the California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) issued a report concluding that a fatal attack on a SeaWorld trainer was "inevitable" and not a matter of "if" but "when."
But the Cal/OSHA backpedaled on its warning after SeaWorld whined and moaned and claimed that the report was "full of inaccuracies and speculation" and described the staffer who wrote it as "uninformed and reckless." Interesting choice of words: Who's looking reckless now, SeaWorld?
But wait—there's more! According to a former SeaWorld trainer quoted in the Los Angeles Times' blog, Unleashed, because Tilly is a male orca being forced to live in unnaturally close quarters with females in a matriarchal society, he is a fish out of water, so to speak—he has no solid position in the pecking order. As a result, he has to be kept separated from the other whales with gates. In a somewhat cryptically worded statement, the former SeaWorld trainer mentioned that "threat-displays" and "less room to maneuver because of his massive size" have resulted in Tilly's teeth being "broken off." In short, "he doesn't have any viable teeth left." Reading between the lines, we can only wonder if Tilly is so frustrated and maddened by his plight that he has systematically broken off all his own teeth by gnawing on and bashing his head against gates. Wow, aside from that little matter of killing three people, he sounds so happy and well-adjusted, doesn't he?
You can read more about SeaWorld's miserable and short-lived orcas in an essaypenned by Debbie Leahy, PETA's director of captive animal rescue and enforcement, that appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and several other newspapers.
Written by Alisa Mullins
This past weekend's weather may have snowed in New Yorkers and sent Hawaiians running for the hills, but pouring rain in both Orlando and San Diego didn't slow down PETA demonstrators outside SeaWorld amusement parks. Armed with wellies and warnings, they delivered urgent messages about SeaWorld's ticking time bombs.
Experts agree: Whales like Tilly, who grabbed and killed his trainer in front of horrified SeaWorld patrons last week, should not be crammed into tiny tanks and trained to perform tricks for their dinner. These marine mammals are 6 tons of frustration and misery, and it's really only a matter of time before tragedy strikes again. SeaWorld's cruelty to Tilly and other captive orcas is bad enough, but the corporation's refusal to stop cashing in on the whales is also irresponsible and dangerous.
As for me, I've only seen orcas once, and that was from deck of a ferry boat in Seattle. They were leaping out of the Puget Sound, and the whole scene took my breath away. Like anyone else who's ever spotted these magnificent animals living as nature intended, I know that their sad lives at SeaWorld is nothing like it.
When we heard about the fur that was featured in the William Rast runway collection—backed by Justin Timberlake—at New York Fashion Week, we all said, "WTF?!" (Why the fur?!) The mother-loving chart-topper would support the beating, electrocuting, and drowning of animals for a fashion line that has previously used only faux? It just didn't make sense—which is why we asked J.T. himself if there would be fur in the William Rast retail collection.
Well, Colin Dyne, the CEO of Justin's fashion house, just confirmed to PETA that there will be no real fur in the collection, just some fake fur fringe on some of the shoes. His response made it pretty obvious which collection we'll be (sexy) backing in spring. Phew.
Written by Logan Scherer
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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.