Bob Barker Slams SeaWorld For Holding Animals Captive
Showbiz veteran Bob Barker is calling on SeaWorld bosses to close down its aquariums after the tragic death of a killer whale trainer in Orlando, Florida on Wednesday.
Dawn Brancheau, 40, was killed by orca Tilikum during a show with him at the city's SeaWorld complex.
The incident has prompted retired game show host Barker to write to SeaWorld owners The Blackstone Group, on behalf of animal rights campaigners People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Barker and PETA want the executives to close its marine-mammal exhibits and stop the breeding of dolphins, whales and seals for entertainment purposes.
In his letter to Blackstone boss Hamilton James, Barker writes, "The death of (the) trainer at SeaWorld did not have to happen, and I must appeal to you to take strong action now so that it never happens again. I urge you to make (a) humane move now and to start moving the captive orcas and other marine mammals to transitional coastal and wildlife sanctuaries.
"This is not the first time that a trainer has been seized, thrown against the walls of the tank, and held down to drown. I cannot imagine what the sight of such a hideous event would do to a child in the audience.
"The intelligent, social, ocean animals kept in the most pitifully small tanks at SeaWorld are denied everything that is natural and important to them. In the wild, they swim up to 100 miles a day in the open ocean, but captured dolphins are confined to small tanks where the reverberations from their own sonar bounce off the walls, driving some of them insane. Some of these animals were violently captured from their homes, many are forced to learn circus-style tricks, and according to whistleblower tips from trainers, withholding food and isolating animals who refuse to perform are common training methods. The only thing that people learn from visiting a SeaWorld theme park is how miserable life is for animals held there."