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About 50 members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals protested outside of the Pasadena Courthouse on Monday to show support for the 16 people arrested on Jan. 1 for blocking SeaWorld’s float in the Rose Parade.
As the protestors held signs that read “SeaWorld: Cruel Orca Prison,” Lisa Lange, PETA senior vice president and lifelong Pasadena resident who was among the protestors arrested, said going to jail is worth it if it will bring some protection to these animals.
“SeaWorld is a monument to animal suffering, and cruelty to animals isn’t something to celebrate at a parade,” Lange said. “Spending a few hours in jail is no fun, but it’s nothing compared to serving a life sentence in SeaWorld’s orca prisons.”
Katie Arth, a campaigns manager for PETA, said there are multiple purposes for the protest.
“We’re here to show support for some brave protestors who stopped the SeaWorld float during the Rose Parade,” Arth said. “These people went above and beyond because they know what happens to orcas and other animals at SeaWorld. Calves are torn from their mothers, (the mothers) are left crying for days wondering what happened to their babies. And they’ve been shipped off to another park to boost profits.”
Arth said the confinement these orcas face is just brutal.
“Orcas at SeaWorld would naturally swim up to 100 miles a day,” she said. “But they’re living in what is considered the human equivalent of a bath tub. They have 1 percent of the space they would pass through every day.”
She added the living conditions aren’t much better.
“These animals are forced to live in barren, concrete pits and live in chemically treated waters all while boosting SeaWorld’s profits,” she said.
Arth also said a movie came out not too long ago that has helped PETA get its word out about these orcas.
“Recently, the documentary ‘Blackfish’ has come out, which has increased awareness tenfold, because people are now able to see the story of Tilikum, who was captured from his family and has spent the last 30 years in captivity, where he has lived in small spaces, lived with orcas who beat up on him and most recently made headlines by killing a trainer,” she said.
(Shel Segal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org).
-Photo by Shel Segal