Animal activists took credit for SeaWorld disappearing from the Florida Department of Education’s online lists of “Fun Florida Fieldtrips” and teacher discounts.
But shortly after an Orlando Sentinel reporter asked why SeaWorld had been removed, references to the theme park were back on the department’s website.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it contacted Florida’s education department last month with concerns about SeaWorld, which has been under fire since the 2013 anti-captivity documentary “Blackfish.” PETA sent out a press release Tuesday announcing the department had dropped the SeaWorld references.
The links to SeaWorld were back online a couple hours after a Sentinel reporter inquired.
“We’re looking into what happened,” said Meghan Collins, the department’s director of communications and external affairs.
PETA said it saw the SeaWorld reference had been removed last month.
Stephanie Shaw, a junior corporate liaison for PETA, said her group got in touch with the education department last month. PETA heard back a few days later.
Shaw said a spokeswoman named Jennifer Hartshorne told her “we made some compelling points in our email and after careful consideration, they removed SeaWorld not only from the Fun Florida Field Trips but from the teacher discounts page.”
Hartshorne could not be reached for comment.
“SeaWorld is proud to be a resource for the state’s students and teachers,” the company said in a statement. “Through partnerships like the one with FDOE, millions of children have benefited from our education initiatives including instructional field trips, camps, education outreach and distance learning programs. We look forward to our continuing relationship with FDOE and working to inspire the next generation of Floridians to care for and preserve our natural world.”
PETA on Tuesday evening released this statement:
“We don’t know whether money, politics, or forces of evil pushed the organization to reverse course, but PETA is still in touch with the Department of Education in the hopes that good will and good sense will prevail, and officials will once more agree that supporting SeaWorld in any way sends kids the dangerous message that it’s okay to abuse animals for entertainment.”