For orcas at SeaWorld Orlando and San Diego, summer is no fun in the sun. A recent piece on The Dodo detailed how the facilities have routinely covered the skin of sunburned orcas with black zinc oxide. Of course, the black sunscreen also hides burns and blisters from the public eye.
Since the federal Animal Welfare Act requires that animals have sufficient shelter from direct sunlight, PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture asking the agency to take action to give the animals relief.
Wild orcas spend their days diving to depths of up to nearly 1,000 feet and spend up to 95 percent of their time submerged at depths that lessen the impact of ultraviolet radiation. Because SeaWorld’s tanks are so shallow, the orcas have no way to dive deeply, much less escape the sun’s burning rays.
Orcas have extremely delicate skin. According to former SeaWorld trainer Carol Ray, who appeared in the riveting documentary Blackfish, when she applied the zinc oxide to a male orca, “burnt layers of his skin would peel off in her hands.”
What You Can Do
Never buy a ticket to the marine abusement park, and let friends, family members, and coworkers know that every ticket supports suffering.