SeaWorld's Killer Whales Are Taking Benzos

By Bryan Le 04/02/14

Sea World admits to drugging their orcas with psychotropics - for their own good, apparently.

That's why they're so happy. Shutterstock

If the overly happy killer whales at SeaWorld ever seemed like they're on drugs to you, that's because they are.

According to an affidavit obtained by Buzzfeed, SeaWorld trainers have been treating their killer whales with benzodiazepines, the main ingredient in human anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Valium, to make sure they're happy for performances - and mellow enough to not kill people.

“The veterinary records show that orcas at SeaWorld are given psychotropic drugs to stop them from acting aggressively towards 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, director of Animal Law at PETA.

SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs confirmed that they drug their killer whales, but claims it's nothing like Blackfish, the hard-hitting documentary that exposes the park's harsh treatment of the animals.

“Benzodiazepines are sometimes used in veterinary medicine for the care and treatment of animals, both domestic and in a zoological setting,” Jacobs said. “The use of benzodiazepines is regulated, and these medications are only prescribed to animals by a veterinarian.”

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter