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Faulconer, Zapf Set To Declare ‘SeaWorld San Diego Month’ For Park’s 50th Anniversary

Photo by Cindy Schultz

Credit: Flickr

An orca whale at SeaWorld in July 2011.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilwoman Lorie Zapf are scheduled to issue a proclamation Tuesday honoring the 50th anniversary of SeaWorld San Diego, following a planned protest by animal rights advocates.

The theme park opened a half-century ago Friday and gained popularity with its "Shamu'' orca performances. SeaWorld later built parks in Orlando and San Antonio.

More than 156 million visitors have passed through the gates in San Diego, according to the proclamation.

Faulconer and Zapf plan to declare this "SeaWorld San Diego Month'' in the city. They credit park employees for rescuing and caring for animals, conducting research, educating students and employing youth.

The proclamation comes not long after a Democratic assemblyman in Santa Monica introduced a bill to ban shows involving killer whales. Assemblyman Richard Bloom said the legislation was inspired by the film "Blackfish,'' which details the living conditions of marine mammals at SeaWorld.

Before the City Council meets, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will hold a rally outside City Hall. PETA has for years accused SeaWorld of mistreating animals.

"Mayor Faulconer should be condemning SeaWorld for its cruel treatment of orcas and other animals, not celebrating its greed,'' said PETA spokeswoman Katie Arth. "SeaWorld should use its resources to create a humane, animal-free theme park and retire the suffering orcas to large seaside pens."

The City Council also is scheduled to hear second readings of actions to close the Children's Pool in La Jolla to people during harbor seal pupping season, to establish regulations for food trucks and to rescind the increase of a construction fee that pays for affordable housing projects.

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