Other medications administered to orcas at SeaWorld include pain medications and antibiotics, often to ease tooth damage caused by chewing on metal bars. SeaWorld's recent affidavit references giving antibiotics and pain medication when discussing Ikaika and his dental issues, as well.
"I do not see dental issues like these in wild orca and, although there are documented dental issues with wild orca, they are rare," said Visser. "Those that have been documented in the wild (such as abscesses) are clearly not a result of chewing on concrete and gates, because, obviously, wild orca are not contained in tanks."
The amusement park maintained through a spokesperson that "There is no higher priority for SeaWorld than the health and well-being of the animals in its care." Visser said this statement "seems ironic and against common sense -- if they hold animals that are so stressed that they require these drugs, SeaWorld is clearly not meeting the health and well-being of these animals."
Animal advocates say that using medication like diazepam on orcas is not a new technique -- though, without access to SeaWorld's veterinary records, it's impossible to know how widespread it is. Said Jordan Uhl, a spokesperson for PETA: