In 2016, California banned the cruel practice of breeding captive orcas, who are subjected to such extreme confinement in marine parks it can drive them insane. Despite this victory, multiple California government entities perpetuate this abuse by investing in SeaWorld, a corporation that profits from the imprisonment and exploitation of dolphins and whales. We must call out and end this duplicity.
California rejected the abuse of orcas with the passage of the Orca Welfare and Safety Act in 2016. The bill banned the breeding of captive orcas and their inclusion in theatrical shows throughout the state. It is therefore problematic that the California State Teachers Retirement System and the California State Public Employees Retirement System—state organizations—are using public funds to invest in SeaWorld.
In 2012, the film Blackfish exposed the tragic abuse occurring in SeaWorld facilities. Baby orcas are ripped away from their mothers, who then spend days calling to their lost children and shaking with grief. Captive orcas also develop ailments such as tooth rot and collapsed dorsal fins. Prolonged sun exposure in the shallow waters of the pools they are forced to live in may also lead to sunburn and cataracts.
Recently, a former SeaWorld trainer reported that orcas imprisoned by the park frequently break their teeth from scraping them on the concrete walls of their tanks, to the point where they have to be manually drilled out. A recent report also documented SeaWorld trainers standing on dolphins' sensitive snouts during performances, which puts them at risk of developing skin abrasions.
Many of SeaWorld's dolphins also develop dental issues due to frustration-motivated behaviors. Additionally, close confinement causes dolphins to become aggressive and bite each other, at times causing open wounds.
Join us in urging the California State Teachers Retirement System and the California State Public Employees Retirement System to stop investing in the notoriously cruel SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Company.
1. Please call the California State Teachers Retirement System at 800-228-5453 (press "5" on the menu to speak to an agent who will take your call or leave a message) and the California State Public Employees Retirement System at 916-795-3400.
Please be polite and say something like the following (note change in name below when following script):
"I urge the California State Teachers Retirement System / California State Public Employees Retirement System to stop investing in SeaWorld's cruelty to orcas and dolphins. Animal abuse should not be funded with public money, especially since California rejected SeaWorld's treatment of orcas by banning captive orca breeding in 2016."
2. Fill out the boxes on this page to send your letter to Christopher J. Ailman, Chief Investment Officer of the California Teachers Retirement System, Yu (Ben) Meng, Chief Investment Officer of the California Public Employees Retirement System, and the California Teachers Retirement System External Affairs.
Stop Investing in SeaWorld!
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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