Following multiple incidents in which children were bitten by dolphins at SeaWorld while interacting with the animals—and PETA’s complaints and requests for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigations in response to these incidents—SeaWorld Orlando announced that it’s ending its public dolphin-feeding program.
Last year, a dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio’s Dolphin Cove latched onto the hand and wrist of a 9-year-old girl so tightly that the child’s mother was unable to free her and a SeaWorld employee had to intervene.
In 2012, 8-year-old Jillian Thomas was feeding fish to a dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Cove. When she picked up the paper carton used to hold the fish, a dolphin lunged to grab it, biting Jillian’s hand in the process. The girl sustained puncture wounds to her hand, and the dolphin may have ingested the entire paper carton.
A similar incident occurred there in 2006, when a dolphin’s mouth had to be pried open to free a 7-year-old boy’s hand. It was the second time in three weeks that a child had been bitten at the attraction.
Deprived of their families, social lives, and freedom, these smart, sensitive animals grow increasingly frustrated, contributing to the risk for sudden, violent behavior. Dolphins—including orcas, a type of dolphin—and other animals deserve better than to spend their lives circling barren concrete tanks so that tourists can pet them and watch them perform unnatural tricks. Please urge SeaWorld to make the humane decision to retire the animals it holds captive to sanctuaries.