It has been about a year since a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that was filed against SeaWorld for enslaving their marine animals. But a hardy group of animal-abuse protesters did not let that fact deter them from mounting an annual protest on Sunday, February 17, against the "continuing abuse," as one protester said, of Shamu and friends.
A couple dozen activists holding signs with pictures of orcas behind prison bars walked along Sea World Drive near the theme-park entrance at around 1:00 p.m. As cars jockeyed to get in line to enter SeaWorld, protesters quickly walked along, shouting slogans and waving their signs. Three SDPD officers were parked along the median, their emergency lights on, keeping an eye on things.
In October 2011, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) filed a historic case against SeaWorld for violating the 13th Amendment, which made slavery illegal. Five captive orcas were listed as the plaintiffs. According to the PETA website, "SeaWorld 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."
Additionally, SeaWorld's captivity "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."