Sea World, California has been hit with another class action lawsuit. The aquatic theme park company has been accused of misleading the public into believing that its captive, performing killer whales are happy and healthy.
This is the third lawsuit in three weeks involving Sea World and its parks in Orlando, Florida, San Antonio, Texas and San Diego. As compared to the other two lawsuits, the plaintiffs in this recent one are not demanding any reimbursement of tickets but instead want the company to “cease making false statements” with respect to the welfare of the whales.
Earth Island Institute, an environmental advocacy and research group based in Berkeley California is offering advice to the legal team of the plaintiffs.
“We want to force SeaWorld to tell the truth,” Mark Palmer, assistant director of the Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project as reported in the Guardian.
Mark Anderson and Ellexa Conway from San Francisco are two of the named plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit. However, the Earth Island Institute is the driving force behind the lawsuit and is the one seeking out individual plaintiffs to represent the lawsuit on behalf of the public. The plaintiffs are demanding that Sea World refute marketing statements that claim their whales are thriving.
Sea World has not issued any new statement in response to this recent lawsuit but in an earlier statement, the company had called these accusations baseless and had indicated that it would defend itself against these claims. The company has also pointed out that its parks are regularly inspected by the US government and that these allegations are completely untrue.
The Earth Island Institute on the other hand is adamant in its stand and wants Sea World to cease running a “whale circus” and to also stop captive breeding programs. They want the company to instead allow its orcas to retire to large sea pens and live the rest of their lives being fed and taken care of by Sea World trainers and veterinarians.
According to David Phillips, an expert in marine mammals at the Earth Island Institute, the truth is that the whales at Sea World are stressed and in severe depression because of their boredom and sterile living conditions. He points out that if children and families visiting Sea World knew the cruelty behind the whale show, they would never visit the park.
One of the legal representatives of the plaintiffs’ claims that Sea World is violating consumer protection laws and is engaging in unfair business practices.