An anti-SeaWorld advertisement featuring actress Kathy Najimy will soon be displayed at the San Diego International Airport.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) ad quotes Najimy, of the popular HBO show "Veep", as saying, "If you love animals like I do, please avoid SeaWorld."
Originally, the airport's advertising agency, JCDecaux, refused to allow the ad, but PETA and the American Civil Liberties Union sued because the airport allows ads by SeaWorld, noted NBC News.
“The San Diego Airport and its ad vendor tried to exclude PETA’s ad on the basis they don’t accept advocacy ads, but when they’re accepting money from SeaWorld to run ads promoting animal suffering and keeping orcas in tiny tanks, it’s not a fair policy,” PETA spokesperson Lindsay Rajt told Fox 5 San Diego (video below).
SeaWorld Communications Director David Koontz called PETA “an extremist organization” and stated, “The truth is that our animals at SeaWorld are healthy and happy. Most people recognize that SeaWorld, not PETA, is the real animal welfare organization.”
However, the acclaimed film documentary "Blackfish" featured numerous ex-SeaWorld trainers who cited multiple cases of abuse and mistreatment of animals at SeaWorld spanning decades.
“[Orcas] do not cope with being kept in these tanks. They survive to some degree, but they don’t thrive to any degree,” Ingrid Visser, founder of the Orca Research Trust, told Buzzfeed.com in March.
“They show stereotypical behaviors that are abnormal, repetitive behaviors like head bobbing, chewing on concrete, and self mutilation by banging the side of their heads on the side of the tank, and there isn’t a single orca living in captivity where you cannot see one of these behaviors, and in many of them you see multiple examples of these behaviors,” added Visser.