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A woman in a black dress posing for a photo.Stephen Busken

This morning, X-Files star and PETA friend Gillian Anderson will confront SeaWorld during its online annual meeting by submitting a question on behalf of PETA—which owns stock in the company—asking when it will release the orcas, some of whom have been held captive for decades. Anderson’s question comes on the heels of the National Aquarium’s announcement this week that it will transfer all eight dolphins who are confined to its tanks—including one who was born at SeaWorld—to a seaside sanctuary.

SeaWorld’s decision to end its captive-orca breeding program was an important first step, preventing the suffering of future generations of orcas, but it does nothing for the orcas already languishing at its parks, who face the prospect of spending the rest of their lives confined to barren concrete tanks. In Anderson’s statement, she’ll demand to know when SeaWorld will retire the orcas to protected sea sanctuaries.

“SeaWorld must follow the lead of the National Aquarium, which is moving all eight of its dolphins—including 17-year-old Jade, who was born at SeaWorld Orlando—to a seaside sanctuary, a decision that has met with overwhelming public support,” Anderson’s statement reads in part.

Many scientists, orca researchers, and industry experts have endorsed seaside sanctuaries—safe ocean coves in which orcas can feel the currents, hear and even interact with wild orcas, and start making their own decisions about their lives. And a team of scientists working for the Whale Sanctuary Project is in the planning phase of building sea pens where orcas imprisoned at SeaWorld could retire.

This is the third time that PETA has submitted a question at the company’s annual meeting. In 2014, Jessica Biel asked a question about orca retirement on PETA’s behalf, and in 2015, world champion surfer Kelly Slater attempted to do the same, but SeaWorld’s system prevented him from doing so.

What You Can Do

Demand that SeaWorld stop imprisoning animals in its parks and instead transfer them to safe, seaside sanctuaries.

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