PETA, the often-controversial organization dedicated to the ethical treatment of animals (and to attending fashion shows armed with buckets of red paint) has its share of celebrity supporters. Everyone from Justin Bieber to Sir Paul McCartney has gotten in on the animal rights action.
The latest big-name animal fan to grab headlines is Tommy Lee, the Mötley Crüe drummer and tabloid fixture who recently sent a letter (PDF) on behalf of PETA to John T. Reilly, president of SeaWorld San Diego, requesting that the park stop using the band’s music in their “Shamu Rocks” show. Why? To spare the whales the extreme stress of listening to the blaring 80’s metal, of course (80’s parents: “We told you so!”).
It’s not that Shamu has anything against “Kickstart My Heart” — he’s more concerned with volume than the music itself. According to existing research, loud, high-pitched noises can interfere with whales’ sonar systems, causing the animals to experience heightened levels of stress. Lee explains in his letter to Reilly:
“I’m writing to ask you not to play any Mötley Crüe songs at any of Sea World’s parks during this sad show. Although we like to torture the human fans who willingly come to our shows, we don’t want to be a part of making innocent animals’ lives hellish. I’ve learned from my friends at PETA that these marine animals are very sensitive to sound, as they communicate by sonar, and loud noises mess with their most basic instincts and drive them more nuts than they already are when trapped in your tanks. Some experts say that a noise level of more than 70 decibels is considered too loud and nerve-racking for the animals. ‘Shamu Rocks’ shows have reached 90 decibels. Whales are not head-bangers, so stop cranking the music and take one small step toward improving their welfare, as the Navy did, recently changing the course of loud ships that were heading into San Francisco to avoid interfering with the whales’ migration. I’m among those who would like to see the dolphins and whales at SeaWorld moved to a coastal sanctuary, but at least give them some peace and quiet.”
We cant say how Reilly and Sea World will respond to Lee’s letter, but if you were hoping to watch whales headbanging to “Girls Girls Girls” during your next trip to SeaWorld, you may be out of luck.