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PETA’s Anti-SeaWorld Poster To Go Up At Lindbergh Field

Credit: Antoine Taveneaux / Wikimedia Commons

An orca performs in a SeaWorld San Diego show.

A wall poster asking travelers to stay away from SeaWorld is scheduled to be unveiled at San Diego's Lindbergh Field at noon Thursday, according to the American Civil Liberties Union and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


Actress Kathy Najimy is shown in a PETA ad urging San Diego visitors to not visit SeaWorld.

The organizations sued the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in March, demanding that the poster advertisement be accepted and posted. They contended that advertisements for nonprofits and for SeaWorld are allowed at the airport, making the rejection of the animal rights group's message discriminatory.

The ACLU and PETA said Wednesday that the lawsuit was settled out of court, allowing the poster featuring actress Kathy Najimy to stay up for one month in Terminal 2.

The airport authority had no comment on Wednesday.

"Nothing is more fundamental to the First Amendment than the principle that government may not silence speech because of its viewpoint,'' said David Loy, legal director at the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. "We are glad this case resulted in the vindication of PETA's free-speech right to reach San Diego visitors on the same terms as any other advertiser."

The poster features the actress beside the words "Welcome to San Diego! If you love animals like I do, please avoid SeaWorld. Kathy Najimy for PETA."

Najimy, who grew up in San Diego, is known for her roles in "Sister Act" and the HBO series "Veep."

PETA has been demonstrating against SeaWorld for years, contending that its orcas are mistreated. The theme park denies the allegations.

"PETA is an extremist organization and this ad demonstrates that, once again, they are more interested in publicity stunts than helping animals," said David Koontz of SeaWorld San Diego. "The truth is that our animals at SeaWorld are healthy and happy. We are dedicated to their well-being."

He said the "real advocates for animals" are SeaWorld and its trainers, birdkeepers, veterinarians and other animal-care staff.

"Most people recognize that SeaWorld, not PETA, is the real animal welfare organization," Koontz said.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 21, 2014 at 7:41 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

This is wonderful news and a step in the right direction!!

Mr. Koontz, you sir are simply a slimy, bought-and-paid propagandist hack for Sea World Corporation.

Sea World Corporation is a publicly traded company that must turn continual profits to survive.

There is absolutely no doubt that Sea World Corporation's first and foremost priority is making money.

If animals have to suffer and be exploited to do this, then Sea World will do what they need to do to keep the stock price solid.

Of course this multi-billion dollar prison work camp for animals throws some chump change for them at some research and conservation projects, but these constitute a minute fraction of their overall profits and is done simply so they can deny they abuse orcas and point to these corporate-made propaganda peripheral entities.

The orca is their symbol, it's on the crap they peddle, it the star attraction in their on-demand circus tricks - it's the orcas who have made this company what it is.

It's the orcas that have made Sea World's Corporate Bosses very wealthy, and what do they get in return? Flopped-over dorsal fins, tiny pools to live in, and forced indentured circus trick labor.

I commend PETA and the ACLU for getting our COWARDLY airport authority to allow this, something they should have done in the first place.

Shame on SeaWorld and shame on the San Diego Airport Authority, both are trying to profit from cruelty to animals!!

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Avatar for user 'my2cnz'

my2cnz | May 21, 2014 at 9:53 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Well David Koontz, local San Diegan's are not very pleased with Sea World and you can hear their concerns direct from many of them if you'll listen to links below. Money that would be better spent on reinvesting back into doing what is right by the ten (soon to be 11) orcas at San Diego Sea World, you spend on advertising to further deceive the public.

It's time to have a plan B, Sea World

San Diegan's for Orca Welfare #1 - #6 (lots more to come!)

#6 -
#5 -
#4 -
#3 -
#2 -
#1 -

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | May 22, 2014 at 8:37 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Pretty lame that you have to sue to get your way. If an entity doesnt want to display your sign they should be allowed to can your idea. Especially if it is to discredit a local attraction.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 22, 2014 at 8:48 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

sdreefer, you miss the point entirely.

This is a free speach issue.

The airport authority is a government appointed agency that was allowing SeaWorld propaganda to be displayed, but were forcible not allowing opposing advertisements to be dispayed.

That's a pretty clear-cut case of 1st Amendment violation, and it's obvious the airport authority had no legal standing because they decided to allow the advertisements they don't like as opposed to going to court.

"The airport authority had no comment on Wednesday".

Of course they didn't.

They are cowards and they were wrong.

They, like SeaWorld, only care about money and not 1st amendment rights or animal cruelty.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 22, 2014 at 8:49 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

*speech not speach

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Avatar for user 'tarfu7'

tarfu7 | May 22, 2014 at 9:44 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Peking_Duck: While I support your cause, your inflammatory rhetoric doesn't do much for you. Calling the other side "slimy propagandist hacks" and "cowards" and engaging in personal attacks does nothing to disprove Mr. Koontz's claim that you are extremists. You sound like an extremist.

If you want to persuade more people to your side, try using more reasonable language and avoid the personal attacks.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 22, 2014 at 9:52 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

tarfu, I am not a PETA member, but I support their efforts to bring attention to Sea World's animal cruelty.

I stand by my comments which represent only myself and no organization.

I think a company that profits from the mis-treatment of animals is slimy.

I think a person who makes their living spewing propaganda for said company is also slimy.

And I think an organization like the Airport Authority who denies people their first amendment rights and then won't even respond to comments about it or explain their actions did, if fact, act in a cowardly manner.

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Avatar for user 'johnjames1111'

johnjames1111 | May 22, 2014 at 9:56 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm glad to see they are wasting their time with lawsuits and posters to destroy a company that is clearly committed to animal welfare. They just saved the life of a humpback whale. where was PETA, protesting and looking for donations and publicity by attacking that same company? All this is based off of a movie not real fact. the only documentation in the film was a corner's report which if you take the time to read contradicts the film itself. the only thing the film got right is some one died and that is tragic so are the thousands of soldiers that are being killed and dismembered. Lets get priorities straight and stop attacking people that are actually doing good for animals.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 22, 2014 at 10:10 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago


You are correct that Sea World does do some good things for animals, nobody is denying that.

But that is not their "bread and butter".

Circus acts involving captive Orcas, something experts who have studied these mammals extensively agree is not good for them, is Sea World's Core Business.

I'm sure there are individual employees at Sea World who care a great deal for animals, and I mean no offense to those individuals.

But Sea World's corporate executives, the ones who make the major decisions, the ones who strategize the company's business model are interested in profits and nothing else.

I know defenders of Sea World like to point to these random acts of kindness carried out by some Sea World employees like the saved life of a whale you mention, but you and I both know that is a minute afterthought and not what the vast bulk of Sea World's money, time, and resources go to - these resources - overwhelmingly - go to on-demand circus acts.

Your argument seems to be similar to the propaganda that comes from other big industries, such as Big Oil.

BP pollutes waters and then has catastrophic accidents that cause destruction to wild-life, but their PR group throws some chump change (in relation to their profits) at a couple rehabilitation efforts and those images are what BP magnifies on their commercials and in their propaganda.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 22, 2014 at 10:22 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Re: the film Blackfish

The documentary was solid and this is evidenced by many respected orca experts agreeing with most of it as well as the film's creators willing to go on public forums (like KPBS) and tell heir side of the story, but Sea World always refuses to debate their critics.

All Sea World will do is put out "statements" trying to discredit the film, but they will never appear in a public forum and actually debate those involved with the people who created the film despite the fact those people are willing to debate Sea World.

It is a simple fact that orcas in captivity die much younger than those in the wild.

And, regardless of any film, it doesn't take a marine biologist to understand that housing an animal that instinctually belongs in the open ocean in a small tank and force them to perform circus tricks at whim is stressful and not good for the mental or physical health of these animals.

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Avatar for user 'johnjames1111'

johnjames1111 | May 22, 2014 at 11:34 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

I am sorry contradict your statement but I do t know or agree with your argument. The one statement I can agree with is Big Oil polluting our waters but not doing anything to help which combined with the radiation from japan is one reason why the whales are safer in seaworlds hands.

I enjoy that you use the description circus acts, what you see them do at seaworld has been documented also being done it the wild thus it seems more like natural behavior instead of circus tricks.

Blackfish I love the most, orca experts sorry show me one in the film none of them have an real standing currently they quote old science which has been disproven and out of date. To be credible they must stay current. And other experts like the trainers that have come out stating they were mislead and their interviews were manipulated to push a single agenda. Again no documents scientific proof.

Orcas in captivity die much younger has been a popular quote by activists well the most research paper I read compared the age of captive orcas with the ones in the wild Northern Pacific Pods. The wild ones they did not even take into account any calf that died under 6 months of age and the medium life span for orcas was longer in captivity. that also included the one they call granny which is supposedly 103 years old. That is a guess no scientific back up since they only started their documentation 30 yrs ago in the wild.

Next I am sure your going to say well they don't swim thousands of miles a day, your right they swim hundreds and eat plenty of fish. Human use to travel hundreds of miles to get food too but now since stores are on the corners we don't we don't need too now with food available they do not either, in the wild they will stay in a small area until they do not have enough food then move on, again documented scientific proof.

Conclusion from current documented proof they whales in seaworld's hands are well taken care of healthy and live longer than those in captivity.

Oh and BTW if you would do your research properly they are engaging in a public debate with PETA's proclaimed scientific expert.

I also read her document but normally only quoting yourself and readers digest is not really credible evidence.

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Avatar for user 'johnjames1111'

johnjames1111 | May 22, 2014 at 11:46 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

executives are involved, as in big business expenses get challenged, 23,000 rescued rehabilitated and released animals, 500 manatees alone. That is a lot of expense for a corporation that is above and beyond just a little token for PR that is more inline with a companies core purpose. The executive I am sure or totally aware and have approved the vast expense for boats, fuel, labor, medicine, food, and facilities. Sounds like a lot more than lip service to me.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 22, 2014 at 12:28 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Congratulations to PETA! This is a great victory for animal welfare and the freedom of speech!

To the naysayers who claim SeaWorld is committed to animal welfare, yes they are, except for this one glaring issue with whales.

SeaWorld does not have the facilities to keep a 6 ton mammal in a healthy environment. They are simply kept for profit to the animal's detriment.

If SeaWorld would end their captive whale program, those of us who champion animal welfare would gladly become active supporters of SeaWorld.

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Avatar for user 'johnjames1111'

johnjames1111 | May 22, 2014 at 12:43 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Again I and others do not agree, personally observing they have a great space that meets their needs, they are well cared for and to your point you would become a active supporter I totally disagree. If the whales were ever removed from the equation then PETA would target dolphins, then seals, then turtles then fish then finally go into everyone's home and remove cats and dogs. Finally they would kill all those lovely animals.

PETA quote "they are better off dead then in captivity"

They have backed that up by killing 80% of the animals surrendered to them within the first 24 hrs.

I can't support any company that does or acts that way. Animals are in better care under seaworlds watch and rescue programs vs. PETA's kill mentality. Not sure how that is a victory for animal welfare.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 22, 2014 at 1:10 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago


I don't know where you got that quote about PETA saying the whales would be better off dead than in captivity, but IF it's an accurate quote then I do disagree with that.

I don't think anyone on any side of this debate wants the whales dead, and certainly what I have heard from people disturbed by how SeaWorld treats these animals is that sea pens where the animals can have more room to swim and not have to perform circus tricks is the best solution and the solution I agree with.

I do have to step in to PETA's defense, however, when you say, "They have backed that up by killing 80% of the animals surrendered to them within the first 24 hrs."

You have to realize that the majority of animals recovered by PETA are very ill and discarded dogs and cats that are suffering and have little chance of recovery.

PETA humanely kills these animals because it's the better alternative to a dismal situation, not because they "enjoy killing" as some of their more outrageous detractors have outlandishly suggested.

Go to many 3rd world cities and you will see hoards of feral dogs, many suffering with disease, open sores, and many who are skin and bones from malnutrition.

It's a sad fact of society that American cities would look the same way if there were not these efforts by PETA and others to control the problem.

Few people are going to adopt a street dog with open wounds and a skeletal frame who has become disgruntled and skittish due to years of abuse from humans, so adoption of a significant portion of these discarded animals is not an option.

I'm sure if PETA were awash in cash and had millions of dollars to spare, they could build large rural parks and spend on costly veterinary care for those animals who MIGHT have a fighting chance, but that's not feasible either.

So PETA does what is right - they humanely put down these poor suffering animals as the best alternative in a worst case scenario, just to be attacked for it by foes who themselves tend to be against ethical treatment for animals.

And if you aren't a person who cares about the suffering of animals, please keep in mind that some of these sick deserted dogs and cats also carry diseases that could impact humans like rabies.

It's a public health issue just as much as it is an animal ethics issue.

I don't agree with every tactic PETA has taken in every situation, but overall I think they do a great job with limited resources of standing up for living creatures who unfortunately don't have a voice of their own.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 22, 2014 at 1:10 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

(continued due to character limits):

The Orca's at SeaWorld can't call their trainers and say, "Hey, I'm feeling kind of crappy, can I take the day off from performing circus tricks today?".

They can't tell us if they are happy or not or if they are uncomfortable living in small pools.

We have to go by what the experts who have observed both wild and captive Orcas can deduce from their research, and these researches, Like Dr.. Naomi Rose, have determined what SeaWorld is doing is not good for the whale's physical or mental state.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 22, 2014 at 1:13 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago


None of what you said is true. Not even remotely.

1. A killer whale in the wild swims over 100 miles per day. In captivity at SeaWorld the tank size is equivalent to locking a human in a closet for the rest of their life.

2. Nobody surrenders animals to PETA. They assist shelters and rescues, but do not act as one. They're a political/social organization with the goal of improving animal welfare. Your comment that PETA has a "kill mentality" is laughably false.

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Avatar for user 'adree9210'

adree9210 | May 22, 2014 at 1:32 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

I hate Peta so much that I would go to Sea World out of spite! I think Sea World is bad news for San Diego, but Peta is even worse!

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Avatar for user 'jb1111'

jb1111 | May 22, 2014 at 2:18 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago


I am going to SEA WORLD and taking friends just because Peta put this Scandalous Sign up.

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Avatar for user 'johnjames1111'

johnjames1111 | May 22, 2014 at 5 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

"pets are slaves and better off dead" PETA has also stated "Whales are slaves to seaworld" I guess they feel they are better off dead. don't follow blindly research.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 22, 2014 at 5:45 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

johnjames1111 aka jb1111,

Posting unsupported opinion pieces from radical right-wingers supported by Monsanto, Tyson Foods, and Phillip Morris is not a valid source.

I checked into Nathan Winograd and he frequently cites the Center for Consumer Freedom which lobbies on behalf of the fast food, meat, alcohol and tobacco industries.

johnjames1111, you might as well tell us the Moon is made of cheese, too.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 22, 2014 at 9:42 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Well stated, CA Def !!

The anti-PETA crowd always claims they are "fringe" "crazy" "extremist", etc., but yet these same people get pretty defensive and riled-up whenever PETA makes the news.

They know PETA has influence and they know animal welfare is not a fringe issue, most Americans care about how animals are treated by humans in our society.

People like jb1111 are actually afraid of PETA.

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Avatar for user 'adree9210'

adree9210 | May 22, 2014 at 10:43 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

No one is afraid of Peta and they have 0 influence on people with normal IQs. They are misogynistic hypocrites that have made no difference on this earth but spend millions advertising their radicalism. People who care about animals put their money where their mouth is. They don't spend every waking minute attacking everyone and their grandmothers for not being vegetarian. People who really care about animal rights create consciousness through education and credible sources of information, unlike Peta that ridicules others instead of spreading awareness.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 23, 2014 at 7:32 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Regardless of what your views on PETA are, if you truly looked at "consciousness through education and credible sources of information" you would find that what SeaWorld is doing to Orcas is not physically or mentally good for them.

They die earlier in captivity, they are forced to perform circus tricks, they are instinctually wired to swim in the open ocean yet housed in small pools.

You can hide behind this "outrage" you have against PETA in defending SeaWorld, but the fact of the matter is most researches who have worked with orcas in both the wild and captivity agree that what SeaWorld does is not good at all for the animals.

Don't like PETA? Fine, then look at what Dr. Naomi Rose has to say on the matter.

She has been studying orcas in both the wild and in captivity for over 20 years, has Ph.D. in Biology and did her dissertation on social dynamics of male killer whales in Johnstone Strait, British Columbia, Canada, and works for the Humane Society International.

She has refuted most of the points SeaWorld has made claiming the captive Orcas are not going through mental and physical stress.

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Avatar for user 'Eddie89'

Eddie89 | May 23, 2014 at 7:51 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

I was somewhat conflicted on my stance on SeaWorld and the orcas situation. On the one hand, they're not beating the animals senseless like seals on the beach. And SeaWorld also generates several millions of dollars for the San Diego economy.

But on the other hand, it's 2014. The 21st century and we humans should be better evolved than getting enjoyment from animals held in captivity. If the tables were turned, how would we humans feel if our freedoms were taken away and we were kept in cages to be gawked at by animals?

So, I'm no longer liking what SeaWorld is doing by keeping these animals captive, simply for our entertainment.

There has to be a way to figure this out where it's a win-win for both humans and animals. I just don't know what that would be.

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Avatar for user 'RothAC'

RothAC | May 24, 2014 at 7:19 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

This arm-twistwing by PETA et al. to force local airport to display sign denigrating a major local attraction is horrible beyond words. I urge everyone with the slightest interest in marine life to go to Seaworld as often as possible from now on and take all your visitors.
I've taken children on numerous occasions; once we went for the backstage tour and found it immensely inspiring. Even the teenaged boy in our group thought so!

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Avatar for user 'no_soup_for_you'

no_soup_for_you | May 24, 2014 at 8:08 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

@RothAC, to the contrary I have successfully convinced visiting family and friends to avoid SeaWorld just as this advertisement suggests. Anyone with the slightest interest in marine life should not go to SeaWorld, they should go whale watching to see whales in their natural habitat. That's what is immensely inspiring, not watching circus tricks. It's morally reprehensible that people put the money SeaWorld generates and their own personal amusement above the welfare of these amazing creatures. SeaWorld needs to change their business model and become more responsible.

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