SeaWorld officials just released their 2015 financial report and, along with it, confirmed both that the company employed more than one person to spy on supporters of PETA and other animal rights groups and also that at least one of the spies is still working at the company.
In July, we first learned that PETA’s work to educate people about animal suffering at SeaWorld had apparently made the company so upset that it created a corporate espionage campaign. For three years, a man calling himself “Thomas Jones” had been attending PETA protests at SeaWorld and organizational meetings, trying to get close to PETA employees. “Thomas Jones” also posted inflammatory messages on social media, trying to incite illegal actions such as calls to “burn [SeaWorld] to the ground” and “drain the new tanks at #SeaWorld.”
“Jones” joined PETA’s Action Team using a P.O. box in San Diego that we discovered was registered to Ric Marcelino, the director of security for SeaWorld San Diego. He constantly fished for information from PETA staffers about protests against SeaWorld and even joined PETA supporters in a protest of SeaWorld’s float in the 2014 Rose Parade.
But after he was arrested and taken to jail with the other protesters who sat down in front of the float, he suddenly vanished when the other protesters were booked and later released on bail. “Jones” was inexplicably released without charges, and his name never even appeared on arrest sheets.
SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby admitted to using spies in his latest statement when he directed management to “end the practice in which certain employees posed as animal rights activists.”
And SeaWorld’s troubles don’t end with the embarrassing admission that it used spies. The company’s finances are plummeting as animals continue to be found dead in the park’s cramped tanks. In fact, one animal has died at SeaWorld every month since November.
What You Can Do
If SeaWorld had any business sense, it would listen to public opinion and send the orcas to coastal sanctuaries (sea pens), where they’d finally have some semblance of a natural life. Urge the company to change its business model and send the imprisoned animals to sanctuaries, and NEVER go to any SeaWorld park as long as it continues to keep animals in captivity.