PETA Uncovers An Alleged SeaWorld Employee Who Worked Undercover For Years As Activist

220px-SeaWorldORL08-04-01a220px-Seaworld_logo.svgThere is an interesting intrigue building of an employee suspected of being an undercover agent observing and recording events in the animal rights area. What is different is that the agent was not allegedly working for animal activists but SeaWorld. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has identified a man that it says was a SeaWorld employee who took part in the group’s activities under the name of Thomas Jones. They say that he is actually Paul McComb, 28, who has held various jobs for SeaWorld including work as a human resources representative. SeaWorld has now put McComb on paid administrative leave pending findings of the investigation..

It is hard to believe that no one at SeaWorld was aware of McComb’s work which reportedly went on for years. PETA said that he even protested a SeaWorld float at New York’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 2013, held anti-SeaWorld signs outside the company’s San Diego theme park, and was arrested by police at the 2014 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Animal rights groups have been repeatedly sued and denounced by circuses and SeaWorld for their use of undercover agents to photograph what the group says are abusive practices in the treatment of animals.

The group reported how “Jones” used social media to probe other activists for information like “What is the big surprise for the upcoming protest. Are we going up the gates or something?” He presented the image of an ardent activist, calling on his fellow activists to “Grab your pitch forks and torches. Time to take down SeaWorld.”

Before arrested with “Jones” say that he is the same man as McComb.

The timing could not be worse for SeaWorld. People are increasingly agreeing with critics that it is cruel to keep killer whales and other animals in these closed areas for entertainment. (For the record, I served as counsel in a case challenging the effort of aquariums to acquire whales for display). Attendance is down and companies like Southwest Airlines Co. have ended marketing relationships.

Recently, the company dumped its CEO and hired Joel Manby, who ran the Dollywood park and the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. It also launched a huge media campaign to say how much they loved these animals.

PETA discovered the connection when it was running license plates from a protest. Then it grew suspicious when Jones gave two addresses when registering with the group. One is on a street in Jamul, California, that doesn’t exist. There is such a street in El Cajon, where McComb lives. Jamul, where he lived previously, is nearby the El Cajon address.

Seaward did note the irony of PETA objecting to an undercover agent by posting a link to a Peta job posting for an undercover investigator.

Source: Bloomberg

35 thoughts on “PETA Uncovers An Alleged SeaWorld Employee Who Worked Undercover For Years As Activist”

  1. Karen S … young cougars are frequently problems because when born they can live with their family for at most 2-3 years, then must go out and find their own territory. As develpoment squeezes the mountains fewer and fewer “new” cougars have new places to settle, and wind up in boundary aereas or literally in someone’s back yard. This is a problem. And it always escalates.

    I am sorry for these itinerants because they have no choices that make sense. When in Montana in 2010 I had to accept that a retired rancher (whom I knew) had to kill 3 young males (humanely, more or less) becasue they’d moved on to his land and his buildings, such as barns…he had 3 little grandchildren and that as too much. That said, those lions had no where else to go. This is always the problem in boundary zones, especially for cougars. Unlike wolves, they lack the social avbility to adapt. If you have a “problem” cougar who is escalatng problems, sadly it must be removed one way or another. Ideally to a sanctuary, but that is seldom the option. Cats are cats,and if moving it is food. Bad for little kids.

  2. Our local mountain lion, however, has been causing a lot of trouble lately, which seems to be escalating.

  3. Aridog – omegas are a gift. Dear sounds lovely. One day I’d like a GSD like that. 🙂

    It sounds like the wolf facilities you saw really understood their wolves’ needs.

    And you’re right. Wild wolf attacks are incredibly rare. It’s actually far and away more common for a coyote to attack a human than a wolf to do so, and that’s usually because some idiot has been feeding them so they think people are Pez dispensers. We’ve never had a problem with our local coyote pack, but I’ve looked at their den site after the pupping season is over, and they have blankets and chewed up shoes all over. They steal toys for their pups from people just like wolf packs do, and people are none the wiser.

    I’ve known researchers who studied wild wolves, and never had a single problem with them. Now, the grizzly bears were another matter entirely . . .

  4. All the above said, I prefer to see wolves in the wild…it is their territory and should be preserved. Other than boundary zones, they are no threat to man, in fact only to livestock 99% of the time if closed in and pressured by development…as all predators are in boundary zones. Spare me the war stories about wolf attacks…in every case, which are very few over the past couple hundred years, occurred due to man challenging them for food or enticing them with food, inadvertantly (garbage dumps) or otherwise (feeding). Wolves properly treated are no threat to man per se. They didn’t evolve or de-volve in to dogs by accident…ancient Egypt had among the first domesticed dogs, all from wolves. At times I think they are smarter than we are…they know when to avoid us. They are the experts at “situational awareness.”

  5. The captive wolf sites I referenced are the large public one in West Yellowstone and the even larger one at The Wolf Education & Research Center in Idaho.

  6. Karen S … as for hybrids, or even huskies of most types, one dog is not enough…they are more “social” than German Shepherds (and frankly make poor protection dogs) and require the companionship…or they take off looking for companions. The Wolf/GSD hybrid I placed with a friend’s family had two other dogs, GSD’s, to socialize with and he never wandered ever. His world was his two little kids to play with and his two GSD companions….although he remained fully dominent. In the north country I know a few huskie sled dog owners and they all have 2 or more for the reasons I cite.

  7. Karen S sid …

    If people want something that looks like a wolf but acts like a lovely dog, they should get a silver, white, or black German Shepherd Dog of good breeding.

    You just described our lovely “Dera” in every aspect, including the yellow eyes you didn’t mention. She is a silver/red sable and if not for the huge ears does look like a wolf. She is the ultimate “Omega” full of play and a no quit demeanor, and scares people due to her looks when the worst she might do, if not threatened, is to bring them a toy and demand they play. It is all about play. Your suggestion is solid, if you want a wolfish looking dog…I’d recommend a silver or red sable GSD with the temperment of an Omega pack dog, and the rest will be all fun. The Czech and old DDR lines are the best for this…level toplines and muscular hips. When I see a pedigree with Porahnicni Strase or Chemolvy kticek (sic?) in it I pay attention. That said, my overall GSD thing is the “good dog” with a solid stable aloof temperment…and I have had some very tough dogs, all manageable with training and knowing when to be agressive and when not to be…the main object of training. It all begins with “obedience”…master that before you try anything else like “protection”…a very misused concept by way too many people. My best “protection” dog was a female from W. German & Czech bloodlines, a 22 inch neck and muscles like a bull…but gentle as a lamb if not provoked. Next was “Ari”… just a giant W. German dog with dominence beyond what most could deal with, but also a “doll” when not provoked. My meanest nastiest GSD was a nearly black W. German male who thought adults were a food group, but adored little children, with whom he connected as if born together. A 5 year old could walk him easily, with a perfect heel (or “fus” in German), but few adults could come close. Even today grown kids stop by to ask about our dogs and remember “Ike” the childrens’ best dog ever. “Dera” is a close second.

    BTW…I am very fond of Australian Cattle Dogs, tough as nails and still social. They were a common dog at the various horse barns I’ve used…could herd any group of horses without harming them and yet never backed off or quit. I like the “no quit” feature.

    1. Dave Alexander – would you like to expand on why we shouldn’t trust you?

  8. Aridog:

    The wolf habitat you describe sounds wonderful, especially in that it affords them the opportunity to fish. Was it a zoo, a rescue, or a private exhibit? The rescue spends a lot more time on enrichment than the zoos, but I’ve never seen a zoo exhibit with that much for the wolves to do. It’s always been 4 walls, a few chew toys, and a pacing wolf going cage crazy.

    It’s frustrating that people breed hybrids for owners who want something that looks like a wolf but acts like a dog. Most people can’t handle a Malinois, but a hybrid is far more difficult to handle if it has too much wolf characteristics. With a mix, you never know what the actual genetics are. If you breed a 50/50 to a 50/50, the offspring are also 50/50, but both sire and dam could have contributed all wolf or all dog from their own genetic mix. That’s why there are so many hybrid rescues. People buy them because they’re beautiful or make them look like a tough guy, and then they dump them because wolves don’t make good pets for most people.

    I used to house sit for someone who owned a lovely 3/4 wolf hybrid. She kept him on a chain because he would always take off and give people heart attacks. He was nice but so bored. He took to tackling to the ground anyone who came near him. I had to learn quickly how to stop it before it started, or I’d end up flat on my back with a large hybrid who outweighed me sitting on my chest, grinning down at me as if to say, “Tell me ‘No!’ again. It’s cute.”

    In the interest of full disclosure, my own beloved dog is an Australian Cattle Dog, which was created by blending dingo with dalmatian, Blue Highland collies, and a few other breeds in its genetic soup. European dogs just couldn’t survive the harsh climate of the Australian outback, or handle the ferocious cattle who could also survive the outback. The first experimental crosses of dingo and Smithfield collie created the “Timmins Biters” who would attack the cattle and kill calves. But they perfected the blend by trying different crosses and diluting out the dingo until it just added stamina. The end result, the cliche ACD, has to be socialized because it has a firm “the family I love more than myself” and “everyone else in the world” mind set. They are velcro dogs to their special person, and the worst punishment you can do to a cattle dog is to put him away from you.

    But for the most part, I don’t agree with trying to recreate a new breed from wolves. That’s reinventing the thousands of years of breeding that actually did produce “the dog.” If people want something that looks like a wolf but acts like a lovely dog, they should get a silver, white, or black German Shepherd Dog of good breeding.

  9. Karen S … the captive wolves I saw were in a very large enclosure and paced very little except around feeding time. The facility gives them several amenities that most “zoo” like places don’t…such as a hilly landscape, trees, and a large pond full of trout that the wolves fish & feed in when it is drained to half level daily….it is “fed” by a near-by stream. The mammal food is placed randomly thoughout the enclosure so the 4 wolves inside it have to look for it. I’m not sure what they look forward to most, the food itself or the fun of finding it.

    I fully agree that wolves are happiest when ranging free in a natural habitat….and should never intentionally be kept as pets, or bred as hybrids either. The latter has been carefully done with the intent of creating a “new” breed in the Netherlands with the Sarloos Wolfhound and in the Czech Republic as the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog…results are mixed and they are not for amatuer handlers. I love the wolves wild…it is their best place and with some work, you can see them fairly easily. If you trudge far enough up the Mill Creek Gorge above the Yellowstone River (location cited becsue there are 2 Mill Creeks in MT) you will get rather exercised, but then you are among wild wolves…due to the terrain they are hard to see though. The same gorge is home to cougars and grizzly bears…and they are not so amenable to incursion.

    The wild wolves I came close to, with one exception, were in Yellowstone Park and most of the old Druid pack…perhaps the most “social” of the packs there. Sit long enough alone in the Lamar Valley and you will notice some approaches, but usually only at level 2 per Prof Mech’s system of approach classification (wolf approaches but at a distance, still wary)…rarely you might see a level 3 approach (where the wolf actually walks right up to you) but that is discouraged by the park rangers becasue there are always some idiots who feed them junk food snacks…a great way to turn yourself in to a food target IMO…when wolves normally don’t associate humans with prey or food.

    I’ve rescued one very social and adaptable 50/50 wolf hybrid, his German Shepherd half was dominent. He lived 14 years and raised two young boys from infancy, peacefully….unless some fool tried to harm the boys. We still talk about “Shadow” as “the best dog ever.” Other hybrids have not been so lucky or amenable to human habitation.

  10. What is PETA? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? Or some such? And they collect dogs and kill them? Is that what I am hearing? The word “euthanize” or however ya spull it is like the word “execute” when the true meaning is “kill”. We need to euthanize humans who kill dogs or who kill humans. We need a society, a for profit society, called People for the Ethical Killing of Killers. PEKK.

  11. Let me amend my comment above: the wolf hybrids who killed my friend’s horse did NOT belong to the wolf rescue. They belonged to a neighbor who kept them in a small dog run.

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