PETA animal rights activists have been arrested at a water park posing as beached whales.
Ten animal rights extremists dressed in wet suits designed to look like orcas “beached” themselves under a “Sea World Kills” sign at SeaWorld’s Aquatica San Diego Water Park in the US.
They refused to move when officials stepped in and had to be forcefully removed by police.
SeaWorld spokesman David Koontz said: “The truth is that our animals, including our orcas, live happy and healthy lives and thrive in our care.
“SeaWorld is the nation’s true animal welfare organisation and the real advocates for animals are our trainers, animal-care staff and veterinarians.”
“The park will continue to focus on “real issues” impacting marine mammals, including the fight against commercial whaling and shark finning.
“So far this year, SeaWorld has rescued more than 600 marine mammals and birds, giving them a second chance at life.”
The International Association of Zoos and Aquariums has supported Mr. Koontz statement.
A spokesman added: “SeaWorld is meeting, or exceeding, the highest standard of animal care and welfare of any zoological organisation in the world.
But PETA is typically not set to back down and is calling on people to stay away from SeaWorld until the company agrees to retire orcas to sea sanctuaries.
Its executive vice president Tracy Reiman said: “Thirty-nine orcas have dropped dead on SeaWorld’s watch, and not one of them died from old age.
“This summer, PETA is calling on everyone to stay away from SeaWorld until the company agrees to retire the surviving orcas to sea sanctuaries.”