(SEAWORLD/BLACKFISH) SAN DIEGO — Protesters gathered at SeaWorld San Diego on Sunday, bearing signs that criticized the park. The protesters were silent, and police were present to keep the event peaceful, but the message was indeed strong and effective.

Children and adult activists alike voiced their distress in response to the heart-breaking documentary, Blackfish, and efforts have not stopped in finally putting an end to the abuse.

Protesters were also present at Lindbergh Field in the hopes of convincing Southwest Airlines to terminate their ongoing contract with SeaWorld.

Continue reading for more details on the protest and for SeaWorld’s pathetic Twitter response to the attack. — Global Animal

Photo Credit: Chris Gotshall/AP Photo
Students view a captive orca at SeaWorld. Photo Credit: Chris Gotshall/AP Photo

CBS 8, Shannon Handy

SeaWorld San Diego was targeted once again by protestors Sunday.

Dozens of people gathered near the theme park-demonstrating to bring attention to the treatment of marine animals at SeaWorld.

People visiting SeaWorld Sunday were greeted with signs criticizing the park as nearly 200 protesters, including children, lined up outside the entrance.

“I would like to let the whales go.”

Orca suffers from a floppy dorsal fin, an abnormality that occurs more often in captivity than it does in the wild. Photo Credit: Cowperthwaite/Magnolia Pictures
Killer whale Tilikum suffers from a floppy dorsal fin, an abnormality that occurs more often in captivity than it does in the wild. Photo Credit: Cowperthwaite/Magnolia Pictures

Gabriel stood alongside his mom, who says she used to take him to SeaWorld. That is, until she realized what she claims is animal cruelty going on.

“My first thought of going there was that I was teaching him about marine life, but as I was there watching what was happening…something just didn’t feel right,” Angela Gerson said.

While protests have been happening here for years, activists say they’re gaining momentum thanks to the documentary ‘Blackfish.’

Released in October, it questions park operations and examines the 2009 death of a trainer in Orlando.

“The movie Blackfish has opened the eyes of many all around the world and SeaWorld is desperately trying to save their image, which is not happening,” protest organizer Ellen Ericksen said.

Sunday’s protest didn’t end at SeaWorld, many people showed up at Lindbergh Field to speak out against Southwest Airlines, who promotes the park on its planes.

The killer whale Tilikum watches as SeaWorld Orlando trainers take a break during a training session at the theme park's Shamu Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on March 7, 2011. Photo credit: msnbc.msn.com
Tilikum watches as SeaWorld Orlando trainers take a break during a training session at the theme park’s Shamu Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on March 7, 2011.

Stephanie Payne passed out flyers to travelers as others once again used signs to voice their concerns.

“The public doesn’t know, so it’s our job to inform them,” Heather Heffernan said.

SeaWorld, meanwhile is firing back. On its Twitter page, several tweets were posted throughout the day encouraging followers to get the facts.

In a statement released to CBS News 8 a spokesperson said, “The protesters’ claims and accusations are, as they have always been, without merit. There is no organization more passionately committed to the physical, mental and social care and well-being of animals than SeaWorld. The real advocates for animals are the trainers, aviculturists, animal-care staff and veterinarians at SeaWorld.  To give this event some perspective, we’ve estimated only a few hundred protesters, however, we anticipate that more 17,000 people will visit SeaWorld today to enjoy all our park has to offer and be inspired by our animals.”

More CBS News 8: http://www.cbs8.com/story/24740156/seaworld-strikes-back-against-protesters-claims

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1 COMMENT

  1. I think the days of Sea World are numbered. Slowly but surely, people are waking up to the idea that these large, graceful sea creatures should be free in the sea, not used as entertainment spectacles jumping through hoops.