Although it contends the practice isn't harmful, SeaWorld has decided to no longer have trainers ride dolphins' dorsal fins and snouts in its shows. The announcement came in response to a shareholder proposal by PETA and was filed with the SEC, Time reports. SeaWorld said the decision wasn't made because of pressure from PETA; the animal rights organization had 163 shares of the company's stock in December. "As an accredited zoological facility," a SeaWorld statement said, "our leadership solely determines the content and format of our presentations and is not influenced in any way by the actions of ill-informed activists."
That's not how PETA, which launched its effort last June, saw it. "Victory!" the organization posted. "SeaWorld has stopped treating dolphins like surfboards and will soon stop making trainers stand on their faces in demeaning circus-style shows." In response to the decision, PETA withdrew its shareholder proposal that sought an end to the stunts. SeaWorld has long barred trainers from doing such things with orcas in its shows, per the Los Angeles Times. Attendance has been improving at SeaWorld parks as roller coasters and other rides have been added recently and the backlash from a 2013 documentary has faded. Blackfish had examined the treatment of orca whales at the parks. Since then, per Time, the orca breeding program has been dropped, and the parks' shows have emphasized education. (Read more SeaWorld stories.)