Lawsuit To Enforce Endangered Species Act Protections For Lolita The Orca Held Captive At Miami Seaquarium Returns to Court

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PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Orca Network, and Orca Network Director Howard Garrett return to the U.S. Court of Appeals at the Eleventh Circuit courthouse in Miami to argue their appeal of the trial court’s dismissal of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against the Miami Seaquarium.

The parties are resuming arguments that holding Lolita the orca without the company of others of her kind, with incompatible animals, and in a cramped tank with no protection from the hot sun, is in violation of the ESA.

The appeal seeks to overturn the district court’s ruling that ESA violations occur only when a protected captive animal’s survival is “gravely” threatened.

“The Endangered Species Act prohibits harming and harassing protected animals, not just placing them in imminent life-threatening danger,” said PETA Foundation Director of Animal Law, Jared Goodman. “PETA’s appeal argues that this orca must be freed from the daily harm of confinement in the smallest orca tank in the world.”

“Highly intelligent and socially complex animals like Lolita deserve strong legal protections, including the ESA,” noted Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director, Stephen Wells. “Until our laws recognize that animals are not merely ‘property,’ we will fight relentlessly to uphold the protections they do have.”

According to PETA, since the lawsuit was filed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General confirmed that the Miami Seaquarium tank holding Lolita may not meet minimum size requirements under the federal Animal Welfare Act.

The litigation against the facility revealed that Lolita shares the tiny tank with incompatible dolphins, who routinely scrape her skin with their teeth, and that she has repeatedly exhibited abnormal behavior related to stress, such as rubbing her body against the tanks walls.

PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Orca Network, and countless concerned advocates have pushed for years for Lolita to be retired from performing, and transferred to a seaside sanctuary in her home waters off Washington’s San Juan Islands, where she could interact with her family pod, from whom she was taken more than 47 years ago.

Empty The Tanks!

The post Lawsuit To Enforce Endangered Species Act Protections For Lolita The Orca Held Captive At Miami Seaquarium Returns to Court appeared first on World Animal News.

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