For the second time this month, SeaWorld is being sued for allegedly “misleading” visitors by claiming its killer whales are healthy and happy, the Guardian has reported.
In reality, the lawsuit claims, the orcas are drugged and kept in shallow holding pools exposed to the sun where they are sunburned and then painted with black zinc oxide to diguise the injuries.
South Carolina grandmother Joyce Kuhl filed the lawsuit after visiting SeaWorld in 2013, claiming she never would have purchased a ticket had she known about the park’s alleedly cruel practices. Now, she wants her $US97 back — and is demanding that SeaWorld reimburse millions of other visitors, too, for its “false, misleading and deceptive business practices.”
Here are some of the lawsuit’s most disturbing allegations, per The Guardian:
- Orcas are allegedly confined in tanks filled with a chlorine solution “many times stronger than household bleach.”
- Rowdy Orcas are allegedly subdued with antipsychotic and psychoactive drugs including benzodiazepines like Valium.
- Orcas are allegedly kept in holding pools as shallow as 8 feet for hours every day in the blazing sun, leading to blistering sunburns.
- Orcas who perform poorly are allegedly starved for days and even weeks “when positive reinforcement fails.”
- Forced and incestuous breeding are allegedly common practices.
Kuhl’s lawsuit also states that the unnatural captivity leads orcas to harm themselves and attack each other.
A similar lawsuit targeting SeaWorld’s mistreatment of orcas was filed just three weeks ago in California. If the suits are successful, SeaWorld stands to lose $US2 billion.
In a statement released on Friday, the park called the lawsuit “baseless” and “filled with inaccuracies.”
“SeaWorld is committed in every respect to the health and well-being of the animals in our care,” the statement said, accroding to the Guardian. “This lawsuit appears to be an attempt by animal right extremists to use the courts to advance an anti-zoo agenda.”
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