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Friday , October 19 2018
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SeaWorld Admits to Infiltrating, Spying on PETA Activities

SAN ANTONIO – Animal-rights advocates with the group PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are speaking out in the wake of revelations that SeaWorld sent some of its employees undercover to spy on them.

The admission came just a week after a shakeup of SeaWorld’s top management, including the departure of San Antonio Park Director Dan Decker and two other top officials.

PETA spokesman Liam Cronin says SeaWorld employee Paul McComb went by a false name and even got arrested at a PETA protest.

“We found SeaWorld employees were participating in demonstrations or protests, and in fact encouraging people on social media to take drastic and illegal actions, as a way to try and get our supporters to do things that would damage the movement,” says Cronin.

Last week, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby admitted in an earnings call that his company directed workers to go undercover, pose as activists and infiltrate the group.

In a statement, SeaWorld said it will continue to employ the worker named by PETA, but in a different department.

SeaWorld claims it was responding to credible threats made against its parks, animals and employees, but will no longer use this tactic.

Cronin says PETA would like SeaWorld to build coastal wildlife sanctuaries and use virtual-reality displays, instead of keeping animals confined and training them to amuse audiences.

“We will not stop until the orcas, the dolphins, the seals and the other animals are sent to seaside sanctuaries, and not forced to spend their lives in tiny, concrete tanks,” says Cronin.

Late last year, SeaWorld announced it will be phasing out the popular orca shows at its parks. In addition, the California Coastal Commission has banned the breeding of killer whales.

Author: Mark Richardson – Texas News Service

Wildlife Advocates Oppose New Rules for Marine Animals

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Wildlife groups are protesting new federal rules designed to improve conditions for captive marine mammals in places such as Sea World in San Antonio, saying the rule could weaken some existing protections. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a proposal to further regulate conditions for dolphins and orcas such as the water temperature and features required in the animals’ enclosures.

Sharon Young, marine-issues field director for the Humane Society of the United States, says although the change could lead to some improvements, she’s disappointed in other aspects of the proposal.

“For example, the number of hours that an individual marine mammal has to interact with the public in a ‘swim-with’ program has been increased from two hours a day to three hours,” says Young. “Animals can be very stressed.”

Sea World in San Antonio has lost three orcas, also called killer whales, to illness or injury in the past eight months. Sea World’s operators said in a statement that it is reviewing the USDA proposal and looks forward to collaborating with the agency to ensure the highest standard of care for the animals.

The proposed rules would regulate captive marine mammals in aquariums and amusement parks around the country. They would set minimum tank lengths based on the animal’s size. Young contends the tanks will still be too small and says in any case, it isn’t possible to replicate conditions in the wild.

“We are strong advocates for doing away with these kinds of captive programs, particularly these interactive programs,” she says. “But until we can make that happen, these animals deserve more than just a body length worth of depth and limited room to move.”

A 60-day public comment period on the rule will open in the next few days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register.

Author: Mark Richardson, Public News Service

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