PETA called for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to investigate what the organization described as a circus-style approach in SeaWorld’s “Pets Ahoy” and “Pets Rule!” programs.
The animals involved in the two shows – which include common house pets like cats and dogs, but also emus, kangaroos, macaws, skunks, rats, pigs, ducks, and doves, PETA contends – are forced “to walk on tightropes, climb ladders, jump through hoops, and perform other meaningless, uncomfortable tricks that are unnatural to them,” the animal advocacy group said in a statement.
PETA notes that the oversight group requires that animal shows at accredited zoos and theme parks have an educational goal or convey a message about conservation.
“The “Pets Ahoy” and “Pets Rule!” shows fail that test, actually contradicting and belittling the animals’ behavior in nature,” according to PETA.
The rights group also accuses the exhibitor that organizes the shows, Joel Slaven’s Professional Animals of failing to gain the accreditation of the zoo oversight group and of having a history of violations, including failing to offer proper veterinary care and confining animals in undersized enclosures.
PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders said her group wants SeaWorld to be required to stop partnering with exhibitors “that compromise animals’ health, safety, and welfare.”
PETA has pursued the popular amusement park over its treatment of orcas, calling for SeaWorld to release the killer whales to coastal sanctuaries where they have space and are free to roam. The animal group also has taken out ads targeting SeaWorld.
Park officials have countered that some of those ads are offensive, and promoted by a “radical organization” that ignores SeaWorld’s argument that trainers, veterinarians and other staff at the popular attraction “are the true advocates for animals.”
The professional animal exhibitor, according to the firm’s web site, has performed at parks and zoos not just in San Diego, but also in Orlando, Williamsburg, Tampa and Columbus, Ohio and guested on television shows from “The Tonight Show” to “Into the Wild with Jack Hanna.”
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: