Celebs vs. Shamu in Wake of Fatal Orca Attack at SeaWorld

Longtime animal rights advocate Bob Barker teams up with PETA to demand closure of animal parks; Pamela Anderson, Nick Cannon, Dane Cook, Reggie Bush and Khloé Kardashian tweet reactions

By Gina Serpe Feb 25, 2010 9:30 PMTags
Dawn Brancheau, Sea World, Bob BarkerJULIE FLETCHER/MCT /Landov, Dan Herrick/ZumaPress.com

Nobody is disputing the horrific nature of yesterday's fatal orca attack at SeaWorld Orlando. But plenty of celebs are questioning whether it could have been prevented.

Chief among the crusaders is Bob Barker, who knows a thing or two about advocating animal rights.

The former Price Is Right host teamed up with PETA to pen a letter to the president of the SeaWorld-owning Blackstone Group, asking him to not only close all SeaWorld parks (not just temporarily suspend shows, as many have done), but also to build sanctuaries and coastal refuges for marine animals.

"The death of yet another trainer at SeaWorld did not have to happen, and I must appeal to you to take strong action now so that it never happens again," Barker writes.

"This is not the first time that a trainer has been seized, thrown against the walls of the tank and held down to drown. I cannot imagine what the sight of such a hideous event would do to a child in the audience. Deaths of animals and human injuries are also common."

Barker declares the living spaces for the marine mammals "pitifully small" and says the creatures are "denied everything that is natural and important to them."

"Captured dolpins are confined to small tanks, where the reverberations from their own sonar bounce off the walls, driving some of them insane.

"Some of these animals were violently captured from their homes, many are forced to learn circus-style tricks, and according to whistleblower tips from trainers, withholding food and isolating animals who refuse to perform are common training methods."

But Barker adds that the company can still "make the humane move" and relocate the marine mammals to "transitional coastal and wildlife sanctuaries and replace them with state-of-the-art virtual reality exhibits."

Also weighing in was fellow PETA player Pamela Anderson, who directed followers on Twitter and Facebook to Barker's plea. And she's not the only one.

"Gangsta Shamu catches his 3rd case!" Nick Cannon tweeted this morning. "Killer whale kills again at Sea World! People need to stop messing with animals with the word 'KILLER.'

"Has anyone ever seen a Black Whale trainer? #wedontdothatsh!t."

Dane Cook, meanwhile, tried to keep the situation in perspective: "Lots of people concerned about this tragic killer whale situation. Please don't panic the flu still kills more people each year."

Even Reggie Bush and Khloé Kardashian Odom got in on the action.

"This whale has killed 3 trainers in Orlando & they saying that nothing is gonna happen to the whale?" Bush tweeted. "So he just gonna keep killin people???"

"OMG I saw that!" Kardashian replied. "How scary! Whales freak me out."

The star who had the most to say on the topic, however, was Avatar's Laz Alonso, who has posted more than 20 tweets about the tragedy since yesterday afternoon.

"Set him free. Its called a killer whale 4 a reason. It belongs in the wild," he wrote. "Killer whales should not b in captivity & jumping around 4 ur selfish enjoyment. They're called 'Killer' 4 a reason dummies...

"An animal whose DNA requires it 2 swim thousands of miles a year day & night 2 survive, breed & feed can't possibly b happy in a big tank...If you're working with wild animals don't expect them not to be wild. The killer whale showed just how unhappy he was...U can't be friends with everything."

And there was plenty more where that came from.

"God put that whale on this earth 2 swim freely & kill for food Not eat dead fish thrown at its mouth in exchange for splashing kids. We can enjoy nature without having to disturb, control, capture & confine 2 'closet space' when it longs 4 freedom."

Sounds like PETA just found its newest spokesman.


Check out more Hollywood animal lovers in our Very Important Pets gallery.