In 2016 Loro Parque sued PETA for its accusations made to SEPRONA (Spanish Environmental Police) for mistreatment of its orcas. PETA not only accused Loro Parque to SEPRONA but also started an international press campaign against the park, although the previous investigations of the Spanish Environmental Police confirmed that there were absolutely no indications of mistreatment and that the orcas were in optimal conditions.
The sentence published yesterday admits and accredits that “the installations of the orcas at Loro Parque fulfill the regulations in force and the general condition of the orcas is the correct one”. It also states that “is unquestionable that the activity developed at Loro Parque complies strictly to the applicable legal requirements and counts with the obligatory authorizations and licenses” and accepts that it has been verified that “the zoological park has qualified personnel to take care of and medically treat the orcas that live in its installations”.
At no moment, the judicial resolution questions the wellbeing of the orcas in Loro Parque, on the contrary, it makes clear that the orcas are in good conditions, attended by qualified professionals and experts. This implies clearly that the accusations of mistreatment or even torture were not true.
However, the sentence weights between the right of honor and the freedom of speech. The court understands that these affirmations, although demonstrated as false, are protected by the freedom of speech. There is no doubt that in a democratic society this right has to be protected but it is also necessary to protect the legal and legitimate economic activities which are the motor of our society.
Therefore, Loro Parque will appeal this sentence to the High Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in order to address that the legitimate use of freedom of speech cannot be the excuse for organizing campaigns of defamation to commit an outrage against organizations like Loro Parque, who has been fighting for conservation of Nature and the wellbeing of animals for 45 years.