ORLANDO, Fla. — SeaWorld Entertainment is making changes to the dolphin shows at its theme parks.

  • SeaWorld is changing its dolphin shows
  • Trainers will no longer ride on top of animals during performances
  • The move comes after SeaWorld revamped its orca shows

The company will end the practice of trainers riding on top of the animals during performances.

Animal rights group PETA is taking credit for SeaWorld's decision, citing a shareholder proposal it sent that called for an end to "dolphin surfing." PETA owns stock in SeaWorld.

But SeaWorld says its decision wasn't prompted by PETA.

"SeaWorld is continually evolving its animal presentations to create the best experience for both guests and our animals," the company said in a statement. "As an accredited zoological facility, our leadership solely determines the content and format of our presentations and is not influenced in any way by the actions of ill-informed activists, who are seemingly more interested in their profile and fundraising that they are the welfare of animals."

In a letter sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month, a SeaWorld attorney said that the company was planning to "phase out the demonstration of standing on rostrums within the next few months." 

Changes to the dolphin shows come after SeaWorld revamped its orca shows, shifting its focus from entertainment to education.

SeaWorld has faced scrutiny in the years following the release of the 2013 film Blackfish, which criticized the company's treatment of whales in captivity.

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