PETA is aiming its sights squarely at Mattel for a toy they classify as "barbaric."
The toy giant recently released Whale Trainer Barbie as part of a licensing agreement with SeaWorld. The set comes with a doll dressed in a wetsuit, Shamu the whale, a dolphin, baby seal, and a pool that splashes.
According to SeaWorld, it's the most popular item in the company's inventory.
In a letter to Mattel, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urges the company to either drop the toy or make it better reflect the dangers of keeping whales in captivity.
“[C]hildren were traumatized when they witnessed Tilikum pull trainer Dawn Brancheau underwater and kill her by thrashing her into the walls of the tank, separating her scalp and pulling her arm out of its socket," the group writes. "This was that particular orca’s third human killing."
"Orcas in captivity are held prisoner in tiny concrete tanks, deprived of all that is natural to them. They suffer from extreme physical and psychological distress and what has been described as rage and frustration over their unnatural confinement and loss of family and all freedom. If you continue this partnership with SeaWorld, the doll should be made more realistic: It should have detachable limbs and be black and blue.”
Regarding the tragedy in Florida, OSHA eventually fined SeaWorld $75,000 for what it said was intentional disregard for employee safety. "SeaWorld trainers had an extensive history of unexpected and potentially dangerous incidents involving killer whales at its various facilities, including its location in Orlando," the group said in its report.
This isn't the first time PETA has taken issue with a themed Barbie doll. In 2009, Mattel released Kentucky Derby Barbie prompting the animal rights group to request that the toy maker include accessories such as a "Horse Abuse" protest sign and "Memorial Wreath" for those horses killed on race tracks.
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