Target: Jim Atchison, CEO of SeaWorld
Goal: Demand that SeaWorld discontinue the use of psychoactive drugs on orcas
As if being forced to a life in captivity isn’t enough to bear, there is even more evidence showing the mistreatment of orcas at SeaWorld. According to recent documents released in a lawsuit against the company, trainers have been giving the orcas a psychoactive drug to battle their aggressive behavior towards each other. Animal activist groups argue that the drugs are likely being used because of their stress-induced violence that is the result of living in captivity. The orcas also exhibit evidence of their negative state of mental health through abnormal and repetitive behaviors such as self-mutilation and chewing on concrete. Rather than solving these issues by providing more space for these animals or even releasing them to a sanctuary, SeaWorld covers the issues with unnecessary, harmful drugs.
Long term use of these drug can cause adverse effects on physical, mental, and cognitive health and can even add to orcas’ already unusual violent behaviors. Adult orcas are not the only ones being affected by these drugs. There are also reports of the use of these drugs on nursing females, though veterinarians say it is not meant for use on pregnant or nursing females because it may cause birth defects.
SeaWorld recently released a statement claiming their use of these drugs are “limited, infrequent, and only clinically indicated based on assessment by a veterinarian,” and despite the recent exposure from the media, they claim to always treat their animals well and keep their conservation as a priority. Demand that the company take responsibility for the orcas’ well-being and start properly addressing the issues that stem from them living in captivity, rather than giving them drugs to deal with these issues.
By signing this petition, you will demand that SeaWorld discontinue the use of psychoactive drugs on orcas and adequately address the issues that relate to them living in captivity.
Dear Jim Atchison,
It is well past time for your company to take responsibility for your orcas’ well-being and start properly addressing the issues that stem from them living in captivity. The recent documents that revealed SeaWorld trainers giving orcas the psychoactive drug benzodiazepine to battle their aggressive behavior is not only an outrage, but evidence of the orcas’ negative state of mental health. This mistreatment has been taken even further by the use of these drugs on nursing orcas, despite the ominous warning of birth defects by veterinarians.
The orcas exhibit unusual violence towards each other and abnormal and repetitive behaviors such as self-mutilation and chewing on concrete that are very likely caused from living in captivity. These animals require a large surface area in order to thrive mentally, physically, and cognitively, and giving them psychoactive drugs will only ultimately add their issues. Please address the issues that relate to them living in captivity instead of covering the issues with cruel drug therapy.
Your further consideration for the well-being of these creatures is necessary for their conservation. Please discontinue the use of psychoactive drugs on orcas at SeaWorld and properly address the issues that relate to them living in captivity.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Greg Fischer via Flickr