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SeaWorld Whales Use Benzodiazepine

Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego, via Getty

According to a document obtained by BuzzFeed, trainers at SeaWorld treat their famous whales with benzodiazepine, which is in drugs like Valium and Xanax. “The veterinary records show that orcas at SeaWorld are given psychotropic drugs to stop them from acting aggressively toward each other in the stressful, frustrating conditions in which they’re confined, instead of funding the development of coastal sanctuaries—the only humane solution,” said Jared Goodman of PETA. While critics like Goodman argue the medication is used as a result of the captivity, SeaWorld responded, saying, “The use of benzodiazepines is regulated, and these medications are only prescribed to animals by a veterinarian. Their use for cetacean health care, including killer whales, is limited, infrequent, and only as clinically indicated based on the assessment of the attending veterinarian." SeaWorld has faced widespread criticism for the past few years from activists about its treatment of its whales, as well as a recent documentary Blackfish, which is about a whale that killed three trainers.