SeaWorld held their annual meeting on Thursday and had an unexpected celebrity appearance as Jessica Biel asked when their orcas will finally be released.
Biel’s cameo at the annual meeting was part of a master plan devised by PETA. When the water park went public last year, PETA purchased stock from their enemy target so they could have a say in their annual meetings and work on behalf of the animals from the inside (quite cunning, no?). Their chance to get their voices heard came on Thursday and they chose a very special speaker: Jessica Biel.
The actress and Justin Timberlake’s wife was, like many around the world, moved after watching the documentary ‘Blackfish’ and partnered with PETA to set the orcas free. During the meeting, which was held online, Biel submitted her question to the park’s top officers and shareholders.
“With the release of the documentary Blackfish and PETA’s educational campaign, the public now knows about the devastating effects of keeping orcas captive and closely confined at SeaWorld. Frustrated orcas like Tilikum have worn their teeth down to the nubs by chewing on their enclosures, their dorsal fins collapse, and they die prematurely, reject their young, and harm and kill humans. SeaWorld then tries to mask the orcas’ psychosis with psychotropic drugs. As the public hears about this, ticket sales decline. When will SeaWorld develop a plan to move the orcas to a sea pen in a natural setting in line with public opinion?” said Biel.
The answer to the question, which SeaWorld’s CEO wouldn’t read verbatim to shareholders, was disappointing. Jim Atchison, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment replied with the park’s standard rebuttal even though scientists have disproven the arguments over and over.
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