SeaWorld Admits Using Employees to Spy on Animal Rights Activists

SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby has for the first time admitted that the company’s workers have posed as animal rights activists to spy on critics of the park’s treatment of captive marine creatures.

Manby made the admission during an investor relations call on Thursday, saying, according to the Orlando Sentinel, that the company’s board has “directed management to end the practice in which certain employees posed as animal-welfare activists. This activity was undertaken in connection with efforts to maintain the safety and security of employees, customers and animals in the face of credible threats.”

His statement was also posted online.

The acknowledgement follows a claim in 2015 by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that animal rights activist “Thomas Jones” was, in fact, SeaWorld employee Paul T. McComb, who had “work[ed] his way into a network of San Diego-area activists concerned with the company’s ongoing orca captivity and breeding programs,” animal news site The Dodo reports. Jones was

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