SAN DIEGO — Airport officials have agreed to allow an anti-SeaWorld advertisement to be displayed at Lindbergh Field, the San Diego Regional Airport Authority confirmed Wednesday.
The airport’s ad vendor originally refused to allow People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to buy space for the ad, but PETA and the American Civil Liberties Union sued. There are numerous advertisements on terminal walls urging tourists to visit SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo.
“The San Diego Airport and its ad vendor tried to exclude PETA’s ad on the basis they don’t accept advocacy ads. But when they’re accepting money from SeaWorld to run ads promoting animal suffering and keeping orcas in tiny tanks – it’s not a fair policy,” said PETA spokesperson Lindsay Rajt.
The PETA ad features actress Kathy Najimy (“Sister Act,” “Hocus Pocus”) asking visitors to avoid SeaWorld “if you like animals like I do.”
The ad is already drawing attention.
“I think it’s kind of unfair treatment. It’d be nice for SeaWorld to have a sign right next to it to reply to that,” said one traveler.
“I’m not a fan of PETA. But in this instance, I’m ok with it,” another traveler said.
PETA has let protests against SeaWorld, alleging that the park mistreats its killer whales. The group also backs a state bill that would ban SeaWorld’s orca shows and its captive breeding program.
SeaWorld Communications Director David Koontz called PETA “an extremist organization” that is more interested in publicity than helping animals.
“The truth is that our animals at SeaWorld are healthy and happy,” Koontz said. “Most people recognize that SeaWorld, not PETA, is the real animal welfare organization.”