Three animal rights activists who staged a protest this summer during SeaWorld’s Orca Encounter have been barred from entering the San Diego marine park and its sister Aquatica park for the next three years.
SeaWorld’s request for a restraining order was granted this week by San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor, whose ruling targeted three members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — Lisa Marie Lange, PETA’s senior vice president for communications; Ricky Chavez Rodriguez; and Lyanne Fernandez.
The judge ruled that they are also prohibited from harassing, threatening or committing violence against SeaWorld employees.
The ruling and requested injunction stemmed from a protest July 24 when actor James Cromwell and six PETA activists disrupted SeaWorld’s revamped orca presentation, which replaced the long-running theatrical Shamu show. SeaWorld claimed the individuals were behaving aggressively and had refused to leave the park.
SeaWorld President Marilyn Hannes said the park decided to take the unprecedented action of seeking a restraining order because of a “dangerous and volatile situation the activists created that easily could have escalated and put them, our employees and even the animals at risk.”
The three protesters at the time of the incident were removed from the park and later charged with criminal trespass, which is the subject of a separate case that is still pending.
The court ruling will not keep PETA from continuing to hold peaceful protests over what it claims is SeaWorld’s inhumane treatment of marine mammals, the organization said in a statement.
“We ask decent people to come together to protest such cruelty by all lawful means available,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.
Although the company has ended the captive breeding of its orcas and is phasing out its Shamu shows, SeaWorld still faces lagging revenues and attendance. In a recent cost-cutting move, it laid off 350 employees across the company.
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