‘Free Willy’ inspires PETA to picket

Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) will welcome the release of Warner Bros.’ “Free Willy” this weekend with protests at 10 metropolitan marine parks across the country.

The animal rights organization will also be demonstrating and signing up new members outside movie theaters across the country.

The orca epic, which opens wide on Friday, is the story of a killer whale freed from an aquarium by a youngster who learns of the shocking plight marine mammals face in captivity.

PETA does not have problems with the film’s message. In fact, the organization wholeheartedly endorses it, and they hope the film will make large audiences aware that marine mammals in captivity are subjected to high levels of stress, ulcers and an early death.

On this coming Saturday and Sunday, however, PETA members will greet moviegoers with membership leaflets encouraging them to join protests at the following aquariums: Baltimore’s National Aquarium, Boston’s New England Aquarium, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, Cleveland’s Sea World, Ft. Lauderdale’s Ocean World, the Indianapolis Zoo, Kansas City’s Worlds of Fun, Las Vegas’ Mirage Hotel, Orlando’s Sea World and San Diego’s Sea World.

The organization believes these institutions are nothing more than “profit machines where living animals exist in confinement, far from their homes.”

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