James Cromwell Arrested After Protesting at SeaWorld: 'Orcas Deserve a Full Life'
Cromwell, 77, was arrested on Monday after leading a group of PETA supporters in a staged protest of SeaWorld.
James Cromwell is at it again.
The outspoken actor and activist, 77, was arrested on Monday after leading a group of PETA supporters in a staged protest of SeaWorld San Diego’s “Orca Encounter” show, according to a statement from the animal rights organization.
“Orcas deserve a full life in the ocean, not a life sentence of swimming endless circles until they drop dead from disease,” Cromwell said in the statement. “My friends at PETA and I want SeaWorld to move these intelligent animals to seaside sanctuaries without delay.”
Live footage of the action was posted on PETA’s Facebook page, showing the former Oscar-nominee using a megaphone to address the SeaWorld crowd about the amusement park’s alleged abuse. At one point in the video, an audience member slaps the megaphone out of his hand.
The video also captures the actor’s arrest, as he and his fellow protestors were handcuffed and led away by police. The “Orca Encounter” show continued throughout the protest.
“It is necessary to do whatever one can for these magnificent animals, who live, day after day, in such abject misery, their sides raked by the teeth of other angry orcas, who have nothing to vent their fury on but one-another, their dorsal fins flopped over to one side, their vascular systems compromised by living for years in a concrete tank filled with chemically treated water, aimlessly floating in place to break the endless monotony of swimming in small circles,” Cromwell later told PEOPLE.
“Today, a baby Orca died at the Sea World in San Antonio,” he continued. “She was the granddaughter of Kasatka, who is here in San Diego, and who herself is dying of grief and mistreatment. This three-month-old baby becomes the fortieth Orca to die at Sea World, none of them of old age. This has to stop. Sea World must invest in seaside sanctuaries, now. Let them at least live a natural life. They are family-oriented animals who have been separated form their families. To everyone I say, ‘End this nightmare. Vote with your wallet. Refuse to be a voyeur at a horror-show. It’s the humane thing to do.’ ”
SeaWorld has experienced increase public scrutiny since the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which argued that life at SeaWorld is unnatural and unhealthy for the animals, many of whom live in small enclosures and are trained to perform for humans.
Since the film’s release, SeaWorld has announced plans to phase out Orca shows to focus on more natural behaviors and that the parks are putting an end to their Orca breeding programs.
This is not the first arrest for the Babe actor. Cromwell recently spent three days in jail after he was arrested during a protest in 2015. He chose to spend time behind bars instead of paying the $375 fine and 16 hours of community service ordered at a July 1 court sentencing.
Before serving time earlier this month, Cromwell told PEOPLE that he was already planning his next move. “I can’t really talk about them, but as soon as I get out of jail, I’m going somewhere else to do another action,” he revealed. “I don’t separate things in my life. Who I am is what I do — I act, I practice my craft and I also stand up for the things I believe in. That’s what we all have to do.”