A top SeaWorld veterinarian has been targeted by animal activists over his allegedly false claims about the company's captive orca whales. The group PETA filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on Tuesday saying that SeaWorld's vice president of veterinary services violated Florida's veterinary medical practice regulations, by fraudulently claiming their orcas are "thriving."
In a September 4, 2014 guest column titled "SeaWorld Responds" published in Florida Today, SeaWorld veterinarian Dr. Chris Dold wrote:
As a veterinary professional who has dedicated his life to ensuring the health of animals, I can unequivocally state that our whales, along with every other animal in our parks, are thriving, both mentally and physically. More than 80 percent of the whales and dolphins that live in our parks were born in these very same parks.
The PETA complaint alleges that there is a litany of evidence to suggest that the orcas are not "thriving" mentally or physically. In the past, video footage and photos taken at the company's three marine parks has shown orcas getting caught in gates, "raking" one another with their teeth, wearing down their teeth on concrete and lolling at the top of the water more often than their counterparts in the wild would.