One of America's best known TV stars is urging people to reconsider a trip to SeaWorld.
Former game show host Bob Barker's message comes through loud and clear in a new ad released on Wednesday by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals group.
Barker said that SeaWorld fosters cruel conditions for the park's orcas and dolphins.
In the ad, Barker said:
"If you are thinking about a trip to SeaWorld, please reconsider. Life in cramped tanks is no prize for orca and dolphins. They want to live with their families, in the oceans, swimming free and having a real life. Many have died prematurely at SeaWorld after spending their lives swimming in endless circles and performing dumb tricks day in and day out."
10News showed the Barker ad to potential SeaWorld visitors, including Pete Mazzarese.
"Well, seems pretty sad
but I don't know about the unethical treatment at SeaWorld," he said.
Brian Stone told 10News, "Without things like SeaWorld to be able to have the general public see these animals and everything, they may not have the same appreciation for them."
SeaWorld issued this statement in response to the ad, which read in part:
"PETA is an extremist organization which is as careless with their facts as they are extreme in their views. We feel Mr. Barker should acquaint himself with SeaWorlds commitment to the animals in its care and to conserving and protecting wildlife and wild places. The public would be better served if Mr. Barker and PETA would focus their energy on animals truly in need."
According to PETA figures, from the time the first SeaWorld opened in San Diego to Wednesday, 36 orcas have died at SeaWorld parks.
SeaWorld said their orcas and dolphins live as long as or longer than any of their counterparts in the wild.
However, the Barker ad has some people thinking twice.
"Clearly, we wouldn't want to support something that hurts animals," said Ashley Mazzarese.
SeaWorld also told 10News that imagery used in the Barker ad which shows orcas, dolphins and a small pool are not from any SeaWorld park.
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