Eli Roth urges SeaWorld to release performing mammals
Tue, 23 Mar 2010 2:20p.m.
Inglourious Basterds star Eli Roth is taking aim at the owners of San Diego, California's SeaWorld, calling for them to move their captive mammals from the "Auschwitz for Orcas" to wildlife sanctuaries at sea.
In a letter to Hamilton James, the President and COO of the The Blackstone Group - which owns SeaWorld, the actor/director pleads with him to cease using whales and dolphins to entertain the public.
The missive comes a month after an an orca named Tilikum dragged SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau to her death during a show.
Roth, the director of horror film Hostel, writes, "It was far more horrific than anything I ever dreamed up in my horror films. All the violence and suffering in my films is pretend - no one is hurt, ever. Sadly, the same is not true at SeaWorld, which targets their entertainment at families and children."
He adds, "As someone who works in the entertainment business, I can assure you that there are many humane alternatives available to introduce the public to orcas without having to hold them in captivity for a lifetime against their will. CGI technology, animatronics, and other state-of-the-art virtual reality exhibits could be used in place of the current live-animal shows to provide park visitors with an exciting, educational experience.
"In fact, showing visitors a more realistic version of what life is like for real marine mammals rather than displaying the captive animals' unnatural and repetitive behavior patterns - which are linked to their oppressive environment - is actually more educational, with no risk to human life.
"Having grown up in Massachusetts, I often went whale watching and cannot stress the impact on me of seeing whales in their natural environment, not cooped up in a tank performing mundane tricks."
Roth agreed to write to James and The Blackstone Group on behalf of "my friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)."
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