Marine attraction park SeaWorld is once again facing calls to release the animals it has in captivity.
Vegan charity PETA has launched a new campaign in San Diego - home to one of the parks - in a bid to highlight the plight of the marine mammals at SeaWorld, and urge people to steer clear of the park. As part of the action, the charity is driving a truck, which gives the illusion it is transporting a listless orca in a cramped tank, around the city. There is a sign on the image saying: "Collapsed Fins. Broken Teeth. Tiny Cell. Prisoner of SeaWorld. Don't Go!"
The action follows the death of 30-year-old Kayla, who became the 42nd orca to die while in captivity at SeaWorld in January.
'Broken minds and bodies'
"Far-ranging, complex orcas’ bodies and minds break down as they’re forced to swim in endless circles day after day in SeaWorld’s cramped tanks," PETA Executive Vice President, Tracy Reiman, said in a statement.
"PETA's lifelike orca will draw attention to the profound suffering that these animals endure in captivity and, hopefully, inspire kind people to avoid SeaWorld until it stops holding orcas and other animals captive."
PETA adds: "In the wild, orcas may travel as far as 140 miles in a day with their family pods. But at SeaWorld, they swim listlessly in circles in chemical-filled water inside barren tanks that, to them, are the size of a bathtub. Many have severely damaged teeth, sometimes caused by gnawing on the metal bars of the tanks out of stress. More than 40 orcas have died on SeaWorld’s watch, from causes such as severe trauma, intestinal gangrene, and chronic cardiovascular failure. Not one came close to the maximum life expectancy of the species in nature."