City Honors SeaWorld Despite Protest

By Elena Gomez and Christina London
|  Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014  |  Updated 5:29 AM PDT
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On Tuesday, San Diego City Council honored SeaWorld's 50th anniversary with a proclamation. But outside City Hall, people protesting for the fair treatment of animals said the city isn’t listening. NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports.

On Tuesday, San Diego City Council honored SeaWorld's 50th anniversary with a proclamation. But outside City Hall, people protesting for the fair treatment of animals said the city isn’t listening. NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports.

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Mayor Kevin Faulconer has declared March “SeaWorld San Diego 50th Anniversary Month,” honoring the organization’s five decades in the community.

The mayor made the proclamation during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. He was joined by Councilmember Lori Zapf and SeaWorld's oldest employee.

But outside City Hall, a small group of animal rights activists protested the decision.

“Dedicating the month of March to SeaWorld’s 50th anniversary is shameful, and Mayor Faulconer should be condemning SeaWorld for its cruel treatment of orcas and other animals instead of celebrating its greed,” said Matt Bruce with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The documentary “Blackfish,” which takes a critical look at SeaWorld’s treatment of Orca whales, has prompted widespread blacklash.

But Mayor Faulconer defends his decision. He says SeaWorld has provided the area with thousands of jobs and has done good work with animal research and conservation.

“SeaWorld’s been a leader and as mayor, I’m proud to recognize what they’ve meant to this city for 50 years and what they’re going to be for decades to come,” Faulconer said.

California Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D) has proposed a bill that would stop killer whale shows at SeaWorld.

SeaWorld has called the legislation a publicity stunt.

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