February 25, 2010
Posted: 04:27 PM ET
Dear Mr. James:
I am writing on behalf my friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and their more than 2 million members and supporters around the world, as well as everyone who wants to see whales and dolphins living free in their ocean homes and human beings protected from needless attacks when those animals are kept in captivity.
The death of yet another trainer at SeaWorld did not have to happen, and I must appeal to you to take strong action now so that it never happens again. I know that the Blackstone Group was asked to close the SeaWorld theme parks when you acquired them last year. I urge you to make that humane move now and to start moving the captive orcas and other marine mammals to transitional coastal and wildlife sanctuaries and replace them with state-of-the-art virtual reality exhibits such as those used in the hugely popular "Walking With Dinosaurs" exhibits that wow youngsters and adults alike. The experience would be like watching free-living wild animals, whereas captive animals' unnatural and neurotic behavior patterns are dull to watch and undeniably linked to their oppressive environments.
This is not the first time that a trainer has been seized, thrown against the walls of the tank, and held down to drown. I cannot imagine what the sight of such a hideous event would do to a child in the audience. Deaths of animals and human injuries are also common.
The intelligent, social, ocean animals kept in the most pitifully small tanks at SeaWorld are denied everything that is natural and important to them. In the wild, they swim up to 100 miles a day in the open ocean, but captured dolphins are confined to small tanks where the reverberations from their own sonar bounce off the walls, driving some of them insane. Some of these animals were violently captured from their homes, many are forced to learn circus-style tricks, and according to whistleblower tips from trainers, withholding food and isolating animals who refuse to perform are common training methods. The only thing that people learn from visiting a SeaWorld theme park is how miserable life is for animals held there.
I am most respectfully urging the Blackstone Group to immediately set in place a firm and rapid plan to release the animals to sanctuaries that can provide them with a more natural environment. I can be reached through PETA at 202-540-2199. I would appreciate hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.
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