Activists Push for USDA Lawsuit on Behalf of Orcas

Animal-welfare groups are adamant about suing the USDA after it renews Seaquarium’s AWA license.

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Animal Defense Fund, and the Orca Network are appealing the federal court’s dismissal of a lawsuit that the organizations attempted to bring against the US Department of Agriculture after it renewed the aquatic park Seaquarium’s Animal Welfare Act license. According to the activist groups, Seaquarium is violating the AWA through its captivity of Lola, an orca who currently is confined in a pool that does not meet federal size-requirements, is without a companion, and does not have shelter from adverse weather conditions. Despite these three violations, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida denied the lawsuit on the grounds that congress did not specifically reference license renewals when it adopted the AWA. “The court has practically endorsed the USDA’s dereliction of duty,” says general counsel to PETA Jeffrey Kerr, “and Lolita is paying the price.”