PETA buys a small amount of stock in SeaWorld in order to voice questions at its shareholder meetings. Celebrities occasionally submit the questions on behalf of PETA at the meetings.
The world champion surfer wrote on his Facebook page:
“SeaWorld prevented PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) from submitting this question on my behalf at their shareholders meeting today.”
But according to Surfer Magazine, Slater was attempting to submit the question to the shareholder meeting online from the remote island of Fiji, which is known for unreliable internet service.
SeaWorld told the Orlando Sentinel that the meeting website was functioning properly and that it did not receive the question from PETA.
The issue that Slater wanted to address was the release of SeaWorld’s orcas into a seaside sanctuary. Although Slater was unable to submit his question, an issue similar to his question was addressed by SeaWorld CEO, Joel Manby.
“More than 80 percent of our whales were born in our care, and sea pens would be a poor choice for them,” Manby was quoted as saying by the New York Post. “Uncontrollable exposure to pollution, ocean debris and life-threatening pathogens in ocean waters are just a few of the factors that make sea pens an unhealthy living environment for any of our animals.”
This is the question Slater wanted to submit at SeaWorld’s shareholder meeting:
“My name is Kelly Slater, and I’m here on behalf of PETA. The veil has been lifted on SeaWorld. All the ads in the world won’t change what the public now knows to be true: that the company imprisons highly intelligent, emotionally complex, social animals in tiny, barren concrete tanks, which leads to aggression and disease.
SeaWorld is experiencing declining attendance and revenue, and dozens of companies, including Southwest Airlines, Panama Jack, and Mattel, have recently ended partnerships with SeaWorld.
As a professional surfer, I’m lucky and privileged to be able to spend the majority of my time in the ocean – it’s the place where I feel most at home, and thus, I feel an obligation to protect that which I have a voice in influencing.
Please, tell us, when will SeaWorld allow the animals it holds captive to return to their home – the ocean – by retiring them to a seaside sanctuary? And wouldn’t this at least be viewed, if nothing else, as a public relations win for you?
By righting the wrongs you have committed in the name of corporate profit for so many years, you may actually be able to recoup some of the respect that has been lost in the eyes of the public and work toward an end to the problem of animal suffering.
Image Credit: PETA / Todd Glover