Joan Jett attended SeaWorld’s virtual annual shareholders meeting on Monday (June 13) to take the amusement park’s leaders to task on behalf of animal rights non-profit PETA over what the organization calls SeaWorld’s “sordid breeding program.”
“SeaWorld has caused public outrage by continuing to forcibly breed bottlenose dolphins and beluga whales in order to create generations of animals who then suffer in cramped tanks, deprived of any semblance of a natural life,” Jett said to the SeaWorld board about the park’s captive breeding program.
“In the park’s breeding program, unwilling female dolphins are taken from the water and sometimes even drugged so they can’t fight back while SeaWorld staff thrust tubes filled with semen into their uteruses,” she continued. “Some must endure this process repeatedly, only for their babies to die or be taken away and shipped off to other marine prisons. We can all agree that sexually abusing dolphins and whales who must carry out their forced pregnancies is disrespectful to these forms of intelligent life, heedless of these wonderful animals’ rights, and just plain wrong. My question is this: When will SeaWorld end its sordid breeding program?”
In a statement shared with Billboard, SeaWorld said that it’s “more important now than ever to educate the public about marine animals” and to have “healthy populations in accredited and certified zoological settings” such as their own. “Having a zoological program allows us to be one of the foremost experts in marine mammal research, rescue, and rehabilitation. Over its history, SeaWorld has come to the aid of more than 40,000 marine animals in the wild who have been injured or stranded,” the organization continued. “The knowledge gained in our zoological setting helps researchers, scientists and veterinarians to conserve these majestic animals in the wild. Marine animals are receiving the highest standard of care from our team of world-renowned veterinarians, zoologists and other animal care specialists.”
According to PETA, forced impregnation is not the only “misery” these sensitive animals face at the marine mammal parks. “In nature, these intelligent animals would be swimming dozens of miles a day with their family pods, exploring their vast ocean home, and maintaining close relationships within their dynamic social structures,” the organization’s press release noted. PETA’s release also claims that “approximately 140 dolphins are packed together into just seven small tanks, where they suffer from the stress of years of intensive confinement.” The animal welfare group alleges that dolphins have no way to escape from one another, resulting in fights and injuries.
PETA has long lambasted SeaWorld for its treatment of marine animals, and Jett joins a number of other acts who’ve taken SeaWorld to task in the past over its breeding and animal training programs, including P!nk, Steve Aoki and Noah Cyrus.