Group protests `animal captivity’ at SeaWorld San Diego


FILE – This Jan. 31, 2017, file photo, shows the entrance to SeaWorld, in Orlando, Fla. SeaWorld Entertainment is furloughing 90% of its workers because the novel coronavirus had forced the company to close its 12 theme parks. The employees will be paid through the beginning of next week. After next week, the workers will be off without pay for an uncertain time, the Orlando-based company said Friday, March 27, 2020, in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – About 20 people attended a protest Saturday at SeaWorld San Diego, part of the ninth annual “Empty The Tanks Worldwide Event” seeking to bring awareness to the plight of captive whales and dolphins.

The protest began at SeaWorld Drive and SeaWorld Way at 11:30 a.m. and was among more than 70 similar events planned around the world, organizer Ellen Ericksen said.

She said the group was also trying to get the San Diego City Council at its next meeting to stop the Sea World fireworks show, happening now on Fridays and Saturdays at about 8 p.m.

The fireworks displays damage the environment, scare residents’ pets, and are too loud for nearby residents, Ericksen said.

The protest crowd in past years, before the pandemic, usually numbered about 100, she said.

“This pandemic is a game-changer,” she said.

Ericksen plans to hold one or two protests at SeaWorld every month. The animals at SeaWorld are being held “like captive criminals. It’s horrible and it will end,” the longtime activist said. “People are waking up.”

Sea World has 10 orcas, and Ericksen says one has been locked in captivity for 54 years.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Sea World’s web site says its core values include “love for world life, commitment and sacrifice, and conservation.”

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