SeaWorld Drops Lawsuit Challenging Restrictions on Captive Orca Program

Posted on July 28, 2016

Lawsuit Dropped After Successful Campaign Led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Sea Shepherd

For immediate release:

Natalia Lima, Animal Legal Defense Fund,, 201-679-7088

seaworld-orcas-article-image-230pxSAN DIEGO – SeaWorld has requested dismissal of its lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission challenging conditions placed on its permit to expand tanks at the San Diego facility as part of their Blue World project. Those conditions required SeaWorld to end its captive breeding and transfer of orcas at the San Diego facility. With SeaWorld’s request, the suit is officially dismissed. While SeaWorld had stated an intention to end their captive orca breeding program and abandon the Blue World project, it had not yet dropped its December 2015 lawsuit defending those efforts.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s premier legal advocacy organization for animals, was the primary proponent of the conditions imposed on SeaWorld by the California Coastal Commission. After SeaWorld filed suit against the Coastal Commission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society filed a motion to intervene in the case as third party defendants to ensure the conditions remained in place.

“While Sea Shepherd is happy to see that SeaWorld has dismissed its frivolous lawsuit against the Commission, we hold no illusions that it signals a positive change of direction for this key player in the captive animal industry,” says Sea Shepherd founder, Captain Paul Watson. “We are certainly not fooled by SeaWorld’s new ‘conservation’ plan and are not buying into the illusion being created that SeaWorld is now a humane institution when it clearly is not.  We will only be satisfied when SeaWorld has finally emptied its tanks.”

“SeaWorld boosted its troubled public image with the announcement that they would end their captive orca program,” says Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Dropping this lawsuit is a positive step toward following through with that promise, but it does nothing for all the other animals SeaWorld holds suffering in captivity.”


About the Animal Legal Defense Fund

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit

About Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Established in 1977, SSCS is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Its mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. SSCS uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately balanced ocean ecosystems, SSCS works to ensure their survival for future generations. To learn more about our organization, please visit us at


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