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Animals forced to walk on tightropes, climb ladders, and jump through hoops—at SeaWorld? Unfortunately, it isn’t just marine mammals who are being abused and made to perform confusing, uncomfortable tricks at its parks. And today, PETA filed a formal complaint to try to get these animal acts shut down.

SeaWorld uses exhibitor and notorious animal abuser Joel Slaven, of Joel Slaven’s Professional Animals, to put on “Pets Ahoy” and “Pets Rule!” shows, in which animals—such as emus, kangaroos, macaws, skunks, rats, pigs, ducks, and doves—are forced to perform and even do circus-style tricks. Slaven has a long history of violating the Animal Welfare Act, including at all three SeaWorld facilities.

Slaven denied animals needed veterinary care, denied them access to shelter, confined them to grossly undersized cages (as well as unsafe ones), gave animals expired medications, and housed highly social primates in solitary confinement and permanently housed them in dog carriers. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), an industry association, of which SeaWorld is a member and Slaven is not,  requires that facilities meet the physical, psychological, and social needs of all the animals they exhibit. Clearly, SeaWorld and Slaven both fall short of meeting these requirements.

The AZA also states that animal shows must have an educational and conservational message. But the “Pets Ahoy” and “Pets Rule!” shows contradict and belittle the animals’ natural behavior. So PETA is calling on the AZA to require SeaWorld to cease doing business with Slaven and to stop financially supporting his abusive shows.

And, as always, we’re spreading the word to give people yet another reason not to go to SeaWorld.

 

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