PETA claims victory for animal rights in demise of SeaWorld Trainer Barbie

Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:43pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mattel Inc said on Friday it has ended production of its SeaWorld Trainer Barbie doll, a move cheered by an animal rights group that has been a leading critic of SeaWorld for its treatment of killer whales.

Mattel spokesman Alex Clark said production of the doll ended when a license agreement with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment expired last year. He did not say why the deal was not renewed.

SeaWorld, which operates parks in San Diego, San Antonio, and Orlando, Florida, has seen other business deals, including one with SouthWest Airlines, fall apart since the 2013 CNN documentary "Blackfish" presented a critical view of how the company treats killer whales, also called orcas.

Stephanie Shaw, corporate affairs specialist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the group approached Mattel in 2012 and sought to persuade the California-based company to stop making the doll.

"Barbie has a rich history as an animal rights activist, she's actually been fur-free for her entire history," Shaw said. "We are delighted to see that she can retain her animal friendly image."

SeaWorld Trainer Barbie comes with a toy whale and a toy dolphin, which squirt water, and a tiny fish pool. Barbie is dressed in a pink and blue wet suit.

"We are disappointed in Mattel's decision to stop production of the SeaWorld Trainer Barbie," SeaWorld said in a statement.

The company added that it was particularly disappointed that "the decision appears to be based on complaints from PETA, an extremist organization that works to close zoos and aquariums."   Continued...