WASHINGTON—Shedding new light on widespread abuses faced by orcas in captivity, a new documentary titled Under the Surface revealed that killer whales at SeaWorld and other marine theme parks are forced by trainers to perform—sometimes as often as seven times per day—completely in the nude. “These majestic creatures are required, time and again, to swim naked out in front of crowds of thousands, perform humiliating tricks entirely in the buff, and then expose their bare bodies to men, women, and children by repeatedly breaching their tanks,” animal rights activist Marissa Abelson told reporters at a screening of the film, adding that even when the whales are not performing they aren’t permitted to cover up and are left in solitary confinement, often forced to spend all night floating nude in undersized tanks. “And what’s most humiliating is how, during the shows, the trainers make them lie there unclothed and beg for food. It’s sick.” When reached for comment, a spokesman representing SeaWorld said the film completely misrepresents their orca programs, namely due to the fact that trainers work tirelessly to promote a positive body image for the whales and occasionally allow shyer orcas to perform in jeans.
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