A federal judge in Oakland, California, ruled against SeaWorld and declined its petition to dismiss a false advertising lawsuit filed by former visitors to the theme park. The lawsuit contends that SeaWorld entices people to purchase tickets and souvenirs by having employees lie about the health and well-being of the orcas.
SeaWorld trainers allegedly told Juliette Morizur, one of the plaintiffs, that the collapsed fins were “normal and also equally common in the wild” and that “captivity in general does not harm orcas.” A collapsed dorsal fin is actually a sign of an unhealthy and stressed orca, which is why nearly all orcas in captivity (but few in the wild) have one.
In response to the ruling, PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman issued the following statement:
SeaWorld is in more hot water: It can’t fool visitors into thinking that cute decorations and a different circus show somehow change the fact that it’s still forcing orcas to perform, keeping them in tiny tanks, and forcibly impregnating other animals. Audiences aren’t buying SeaWorld’s tickets or lies—and are still waiting for the company to retire these animals to seaside sanctuaries.