A consolidated federal lawsuit filed in San Diego last week alleges that SeaWorld has concealed the mistreatment of its captive orca whales with a deceptive marketing campaign.
The complaint joins three separate complaints previously filed by consumers and follows SeaWorld’s unsuccessful effort to have the litigation consolidated in Orlando, Florida.
Hagens Berman, a consumer rights class action law firm, originally filed a lawsuit on behalf of Holly Hall, challenging SeaWorld’s alleged misrepresentation and material omissions concerning the treatment and conditions of its captive killer whales.
During its signature Shamu shows and in its global marketing campaign, SeaWorld states that it “cares for,” “protects,” and “nourishes” its captive orcas, according to the complaint.
“The deceptive and false illusion carefully scripted by SeaWorld and created for the public has concealed not only the mistreatment of these animals, but also concealed orca behavior that evidences how their captivity at SeaWorld is harmful to their welfare,” the complaint states.
SeaWorld, which has 45 days to respond to the consolidated complaint, said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation but “for SeaWorld there is no higher priority than the health and wellbeing of our animals.”
“According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, SeaWorld is ‘meeting or exceeding the highest standard of animal care and welfare of any zoological organization in the world,'” stated SeaWorld.