Daniel Daw Apr. 14, 2015, 1:25pm


A South Carolina woman is suing a popular Florida theme park over claims orca whales are mistreated at the park.

Joyce Kuhl filed a lawsuit April 9 in U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida against Sea World, LLC claiming Sea World violates the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. 

The suit requests that refunds be made to consumers who would have not paid for admission, memberships or other items had they known of their treatment of captive whales.

The suit said the small space that orca whales are confined to affects their physical and mental health and overall well-being. Whales in captivity are reported to have shortened life spans compared to their wild counterparts.

The suit states that Sea World actively keeps this information from the public going as far to verbally attack its critics as "radicals" and "extremists."

The suit states agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported multiple violations including medical supplies being used despite expiration dates of over 10 years prior to their inspection in 2012 and harmful fragments of concrete that are harmful to animals if ingested or otherwise exposed to it. The suit states the agents also reported that the living conditions for animals was deemed unsuitable compared to their would-be natural environment. They also reported that animals are purposefully deprived of food in order to condition them for performance.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status. The suit seeks the refund of tickets and fees associated with entering Sea World Orlando. The suit also seeks Sea World be ordered to desist all false and deceptive business practices. The lawsuit also seeks attorney's fees and other relief deemed suitable by the court. 

The plaintiff is represented by attorney Paul Rothstein of Florida.

U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida case No. 6:15-cv-00574

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