Animal rights activists attend a demonstration to demand the release of the orca Lolita in Miami. (EFE Agency)
The organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) urges the Spanish company Parques Reunidos, owner of the Miami Seaquarium and Marineland in Antibes (France), to free the orcas from both parks, especially the orca Lolita, after the announcement of the French government to ban animals in captivity.
The vice president of International Programs of PETA, Mimi Bekhechi, assures that the “economic benefit” cannot prevail over “the public opinion that is against the confinement of the orcas -very intelligent animals that swim great distances-, and deprive them of any contact with natural life ”.
“We urge the Miami Seaquarium to do the right thing and release Lolita now,” says Bekhechi.
France announced on September 29 the progressive ban on the use of wild animals in traveling circuses and, in five years, the end of the breeding of mink for fur, measures contemplated to favor the welfare of animals in captivity.
The French government has also ordered the sending of cetaceans that are in captivity to marine sanctuaries, “thus recognizing a new era in terms of the relationship between humans and wild animals,” according to a statement from PETA in the United States. .
Under this new policy, PETA has sent a letter to Parques Reunidos urging it to release the orca Lolita in a marine sanctuary, as well as the cetaceans found in Marineland .
The animal rights organization points out that the killer whale “shows repetitive and abnormal behavior that indicates severe distress” and explains that killer whales and dolphins live in large complex social groups and swim great distances daily, but in captivity, they can only swim in circles within of tanks that are the equivalent of a bathtub for them and most die long before their natural life expectancy.
On September 24, the Lummi, an indigenous people of the northwestern United States, met peacefully in front of the Miami Aquarium to demand the release of the orca, which was born in the waters of the Northwest Pacific and that day it was locked up for half a century .
“Under our inherent rights, (Lolita) is our relative. We have the right to take her home, ”said one of the Lummi, who consider the orcas as members of their tribe.
Lolita was four years old when on September 24, 1970, she arrived at the Miami Seaquarium, owned by Palace Entertainment, a company acquired in 2007 by the Spanish Parques Reunidos .
Lolita lives since then confined in a pool of about 60 feet (18 meters) in length and a maximum depth of 20 feet (6.1 meters), according to the measurements provided by the animal rights organizations.