Last week, a 9-year-old girl was bitten by a dolphin at SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas. Now PETA is trying to get the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the bite.
It seems as though the family, who wishes to remain anonymous, has cooperated with PETA. In their statement about the incident, PETA says that while the girl was petting a dolphin at Dolphin Cove, the dolphin "latched onto [her] hand and wrist...so tightly that the child's mother was unable to free her and a SeaWorld employee had to intervene." PETA says the girl's hand had bite marks on it and was swollen. SeaWorld says that staffers quickly gave the girl medical care and that she was fine, going on to visit other parts of the park.
In December 2012, another young girl was bitten at a SeaWorld park when she accidentally picked up a plate the dolphins are fed from and one lunged at her and bit her. Because, yes, dolphins are wild animals, not big fish that just flop around aimlessly. (Real talk though: If you have ever pet a dolphin, doesn't the way their skin sheds off their body so they can swim really fast feel so crazy? It's like nothing I have ever felt.)
In a statement to ABC News about the most recent incident, SeaWorld San Antonio spokesman Brian Carter said the company takes this seriously:
We are fully investigating this incident and we regret the guest experienced this during her visit. SeaWorld provides thousands of safe interactions between our guests and animals each day, and incidents like this are few and far between.
Coincidentally, following a January inspection, SeaWorld was just cited by the USDA for not throwing out expired veterinary products and not properly attending to the rubber floors that animals perform on. These are violations of the Animal Welfare Act. SeaWorld had previously been cited for the rubber flooring problems, but the issues with the veterinary products are new. Apparently, they've been keeping "dozens of expired surgical sutures—which can become unsterile, result in premature suture failure, and lead to life-threatening infections in the animals," explains PETA.
SeaWorld is still trying to fight back against the damage done by Blackfish. The Orlando Sentinel reports that they've filed a complaint with the Department of Labor that claims that an OSHA (U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration) investigator leaked confidential documents to the Blackfish filmmakers and socialized with them. The filmmakers say that the investigator – whose work prompted the court decision to not allow SeaWorld trainers in the pools with the animals – didn't even cooperate with them for the movie.
In the meantime, for anyone who hasn't been seeing SeaWorld's sponsored tweets in their Twitter feed, or hasn't happened upon the way they respond to anyone who tweets at them about Blackfish, you should really really check it out. Their consistent references to the film as "propaganda" becomes doubly hilarious as they spew out their own "propaganda":
Please note the many people who have been redirected to the URL seaworld.com/truth. TRUTH. We all want it.
Image via PETA