Spanish Court Sides With PETA, Dismisses Loro Parque’s €100,000 Defamation Suit

For Immediate Release:

13 November 2017


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]


Judge Finds Suitable Support for Opinion That Orcas Are Suffering in Theme Park’s Tanks

Tenerife, Spain – A Spanish court has dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by Loro Parque, which sought €100,000 in damages from PETA after the animal rights group publicised photographs in 2015 showing orcas at the marine park covered with scars and wounds – indicating inter-animal aggression and possibly unsafe enclosures. Other images showed severe dental trauma, which captive orcas typically develop from gnawing on tank gates and walls.

In her dismissal, the judge ruled that PETA’s opinion that orcas are suffering in captivity at Loro Parque, which is based on existing research and expert analysis, is protected under the constitutional right to freedom of expression. The court also ordered the company to pay PETA’s legal fees.

“To say that orcas are suffering in Loro Parque’s dismal tanks is accurate, not defamatory,” says PETA Director Elisa Allen. “PETA is calling on the marine park to stop trying to conceal these animals’ suffering and start moving them to coastal sanctuaries.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that animals in marine parks are commonly separated from their families, deprived of the freedom to swim vast distances, and made to perform tricks. Recognising that the complex needs of orcas and other dolphins cannot be met in tanks, lawmakers around the world are acting to end marine-animal captivity – just this year, France and California announced bans on orca breeding. Countries such as Chile, Costa Rica, and Croatia have banned keeping cetaceans in captivity, while others – including Brazil, India, Nicaragua, and Norway – have highly restrictive standards that make the practice nearly impossible. The last dolphinarium in the UK closed more than 20 years ago.

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