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SeaWorld has come under fire after it has been revealed executives received $6.8 million in restricted stock awards, despite furloughing 90 percent of staff.

Employees were furloughed after the park temporarily shut due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic last month, meaning they will receive no pay but can return to work when the business reopens – AP reports

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, SeaWorld states the awards were give to ‘recognize employees for their extraordinary contributions and continued expected contributions to the company and its long term goals during the pandemic’.

‘Trapped in concrete cells’

Following the park’s closure, animal-rights charity PETA offered SeaWorld $250,000 – if it agrees to release all the orcas, other dolphins it’s holding and lets them move to sanctuaries.

PETA President, Ingrid Newkirk, said: “This is SeaWorld’s moment to win back all the families who won’t pay to see marine mammals being deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them and trapped in concrete cells.

“PETA will pay up to get the ball rolling on a seaside sanctuary where orcas, other dolphins, and whales could finally dive deep, feel the ocean currents, and enjoy a more natural life.”

Plant Based News has contacted SeaWorld for comment

Liam Gilliver

Liam is the Deputy Editor and Social Media Coordinator for Plant Based News. He has written for a number of top publications including Gay Times, Attitude Magazine, Oh Comely, and The Huffington Post - and is the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.