Thursday, PETA sent an urgent letter to R. Scott Jenkins, president of the 2014 Pasadena Tournament of Roses, urging him to require a change in the design of SeaWorld’s float for the Rose Parade in January. Currently, the display shows majestic orcas living free in the open sea. But at SeaWorld, orcas are restricted to concrete tanks, where they often break their teeth by gnawing on the underwater bars because of stress and boredom-all in the name of performing tricks at SeaWorld. PETA’s suggested design shows an orca confined to a fish bowl and surrounded by chains-a more accurate depiction of how these magnificent animals are deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them at SeaWorld. The caption reads, “SeaWorld of Hurt-Where Happiness Tanks.”
“Require SeaWorld to represent its treatment of orcas more accurately by using [PETA’s] design with a slight tweak to the parade’s theme-‘SeaWorld: Where Dreams Never Come True,'” writes PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange, a Pasadena resident. “[W]e urge you to do the right thing for the orcas who have suffered so much and embrace this change in the float design.”
In the wild, orcas share intricate relationships with one another and swim as much as 100 miles every day. Many orcas at SeaWorld-including Tilikum, the subject of the compelling documentary Blackfish who killed three people, including SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau-were rounded up rodeo-style and taken from their family pods in the wild. At least 25 orcas have died in U.S. SeaWorld facilities since 1986-and not one died of old age.
Calls to TOR for comment were not immediately returned.