Sea World Protest
Sea World Protest

‘Appalling’ Sea World protest ‘is insanity’

SEA World operators have dismissed animal rights protesters, slamming a NSW politician's "appalling" decision to use the popular Gold Coast theme park to grandstand.

Yesterday the Bulletin observed around 30 people, armed with placards, chanting slogans outside the park at Main Beach during a two hour protest.

Protesters had mostly travelled from Brisbane, along with some from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, organisers said.

Among those leading the rally was politician Emma Hurst from the Animal Justice Party, Member for NSW Legislative Council.

NSW MLC Emma Hurst of the Animal Justice Party on the Gold Coast. Picture: Mike Batterham
NSW MLC Emma Hurst of the Animal Justice Party on the Gold Coast. Picture: Mike Batterham

Ms Hurst told the Bulletin she had travelled to Queensland to protest against Sea World, as well as attend other protests in Brisbane.

"No animal should be forced into entertainment … we want Sea World to stop the breeding of (dolphins), we need to make sure no more of these animals are born and bred in captivity," she said.

She hoped Queensland would follow her state's lead by introducing an inquiry into animals in entertainment.

Village Roadshow Theme Parks boss Bikash Randhawa said it was "astounding" Ms Hurst had travelled out of her jurisdiction to be involved.

"What is a NSW senator doing in Queensland? I don't get it. It's insanity," he said.

"It's appalling that (she) comes all the way to Queensland to get some publicity."

Mr Randahawa said he was at Sea World during the rally and had intended to speak with protesters, but walked away when he saw the small group.

"I was happy to go over and talk with them but when I looked at (the protest) and saw some of the messaging, I said this does not deserve any conversation because it's all based on opinion … let's base it on science," he said.

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Village Roadshow Theme Parks boss Bikash Randhawa described the protestors’ message as “repetitive” and “monotonous”. Picture: Jason O'Brien
Village Roadshow Theme Parks boss Bikash Randhawa described the protestors’ message as “repetitive” and “monotonous”. Picture: Jason O'Brien

"They were all turning around taking pictures for their social media - seriously, it's ridiculous.

"I was looking at my gate at Sea World, and there were thousands of people - absolutely packed - and you look at them here with 20-30 people.

"This is the delusional world these people live in … the only reason they would try to associate themselves with us is to use our brand … to get people like (the media) to talk to them because they have no other way of doing this.

"It doesn't bother us anymore, it's just a repetitive, monotonous agenda that I think even our consumers are sick of."

Animal Rights protestors opposite Sea World. Picture: Mike Batterham
Animal Rights protestors opposite Sea World. Picture: Mike Batterham

Mr Randahawa said it was frustrating given Village Roadshow theme parks voluntarily poured hefty money into animal rescues including "six figures" on a single whale rescue at Palm Beach, and similar funding to help koalas in fire affected areas through Paradise Country this bushfire season.

"It's expensive, and we've got staff there on the beach getting abused," he said.

Sea World is an accredited zoological institution under the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) and is also regulated by multiple State and Federal Government agencies.

The release of rescued animals into the wild is a decision made by Queensland Government agencies.

Animal Rights protestors calling for an end to the captive breeding of dolphins. Picture: Mike Batterham
Animal Rights protestors calling for an end to the captive breeding of dolphins. Picture: Mike Batterham

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