Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Six Flags Marine World Target of Protest Due to the Unnatural Nature of their Training and Captivity

This movement targets not only the marine life, but also the elephants and others at the facility

“In Defense of Animals alleges that nearly 30 animals have died "premature, unnatural deaths" because of inhumane training and living conditions at the park, Kuba said. The group says it simply wants Six Flags to remove animals from Marine World and another park where it keeps wildlife.”

Article:


Animal rights activists protest after judge rules in their favor

http://www.timesheraldonline.com/ci_3880626

By J.M. BROWN, Times-Herald staff writer

Vallejo Times Herald

After winning a federal court's nod, several animal rights activists demonstrated without incident in front of Six Flags Marine World over the holiday weekend, saying they met their simple goals of educating the public and exercising free speech.

Demonstrators said a few patrons asked them to explain their claims of abuse against elephants, dolphins and other animals. But others simply took the group's leaflets and left them for park staff to clean up.

"We were able to have good access," said Alfredo Kuba, a Mountain View man whose arrest last year on trespassing and assault charges sparked the lawsuit. "We respect those who don't want to take (the leaflet) and hear it."

Vallejo police Sgt. Herman Robinson said the demonstrations on Saturday and Monday were peaceful, although several officers were stationed outside the park in case of a disruption.

"There were no confrontations," Robinson said. "(The demonstrators) were on their best behavior."

The protest did not affect business on what is one of Marine World's busiest weekends, park spokesman Paul Garcia said. Attendance figures would be verified today.

"As far as I know, there no problems," Garcia said. "Everything went well for our operation."

A federal judge issued an injunction last week allowing Kuba and up to nine others from In Defense of Animals to protest over the weekend. The order superseded Marine World's company policy outlawing demonstrations on high-traffic times like Memorial Day weekend.

In Defense of Animals alleges that nearly 30 animals have died "premature, unnatural deaths" because of inhumane training and living conditions at the park, Kuba said. The group says it simply wants Six Flags to remove animals from Marine World and another park where it keeps wildlife.

Specifically, the group alleges elephants are abused by artificial insemination and poked with painful prods called bullhooks to force them into performing tricks. Orca whales, naturally social animals, suffer because they are isolated from relatives, the group claims.

"You can't make elephants do these things without fear and violence," demonstrator Deniz Bolbol of Redwood City said.

Animals are also upset by the noise of rollercoasters and other park rides, demonstrators said.

"It's not an adequate place to have animals," Kuba said, adding that animals suffer "constant beating to break their spirit."

Garcia says trainers follow all regulations regarding animal care. He declined to comment on the pending litigation, which is scheduled to be heard in December.

Upon seeing her protest sign, Bolbol said several park patrons told her they only come to Marine World for the rides - not the animals. She wishes company directors would listen to customers who are excited more by new rides than animal shows, she said.

"They are business people - this is not profitable," she said.

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