San Diego

3 PETA Protesters Banned From SeaWorld San Diego for 3 Years: Court Docs

SeaWorld San Diego said the trio protested during an "Orca Encounter" presentation at the park on July 24

A court order issued Thursday banned three protesters from entering SeaWorld San Diego and Aquatica San Diego for the next three years due to a demonstration that took place at the amusement park over the summer.

The Superior Court of the State of California County of San Diego issued a court order banning Lisa Marie Lange, Ricky Chavez Rodriguez, and Lyanne Fernandez from entering the two parks in San Diego and Chula Vista and from “harassing, intimidating, attacking or threatening” protected SeaWorld employees.

All three protesters are with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). On July 24, the trio, along with a few others, protested in the park during an “Orca Encounter” presentation alongside "Babe" actor James Cromwell.

SeaWorld claims the protesters were behaving aggressively and refused to leave the park. PETA said the protest was peaceful.

Following the incident, SeaWorld sought a workplace violence restraining order against Lange, Rodriguez, and Fernandez. This court order resolved that case by agreement.

Marilyn Hannes, president of SeaWorld San Diego, said the company is pleased with the outcome adding, in a press release: "We will not tolerate this type of behavior in our parks."

In a statement, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said the organization will continue to hold peaceful protests. 

"PETA will continue to hold peaceful protests against SeaWorld as the company feels the impact of falling attendance and public pressure to stop confining sensitive marine mammals to tiny tanks, thereby denying them any semblance of a fulfilling life. We ask decent people to come together to protest such cruelty by all lawful means available."

PETA and SeaWorld have been at odds over the treatment of the animals living at company's amusement parks.

In early 2016, SeaWorld said it would not breed killer whales and would stop using them in shows. SeaWorld San Diego has since ended its theatrical orca shows and breeding program. Parks in Orlando and San Antonio will follow suit by 2019.

In recent years, the San Diego amusement park has struggled with a drop in attendance connected, in part, to the release of the controversial 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which criticized the treatment of the park’s killer whales.

Since the release of the film, SeaWorld San Diego has rolled out new rides, attractions and ticket deals in an attempt to increase attendance.

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