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Consumers initiate business litigation against SeaWorld

Not all Moorestown residents will have the opportunity to see exotic animals in their natural habitats. For that reason, many enjoy visiting zoos and nature preserves where otherwise unavailable wildlife is housed and cared for by veterinarians and other professionals. Such parks and entertainment facilities have long met criticism over their care of exotic animals and the business practices they use to provide for them.

One of the most visible and popular animal parks currently operating in the United States has recently been sued over what some consumers claim are abusive practices toward their animals. The SeaWorld water park franchise has been sued twice recently by individuals who have visited its parks and claim the parks mistreat their star animals, the orcas. Plaintiffs allege that the facilities' orcas are placed in chemical-filled water, forced to inbreed, given mood stabilizers, and subjected to other practices that create the illusion that the animals are happy in captivity.

As compensation, consumers are asking for their park entrance fees back, which individually total around $100. However, at least one of these lawsuits is presented as a class action, meaning it may incorporate many other parties who suffered the same loss as a result of SeaWorld's alleged fraud toward consumers. Should the lawsuits succeed, the SeaWorld organization could be forced to pay around $2 billion.

The actual and suspected business practices of an organization can open it up to ethical, technical and criminal accusations based on the interests of those who engage with it. SeaWorld built an enterprise around the performance abilities of some truly exotic and powerful animals. If the current business litigation filed against it proves successful, the park may have to change its practices or close in order to accommodate the ruling of the applicable court.

Source: Business Insider, "A new lawsuit makes shocking allegations about the practices at SeaWorld," Natasha Bertrand, April 11, 2015

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