On Saturday the 12th of May, Action for Dolphins attended the sixth annual Empty the Tanks demonstration outside Sea World on the Gold Coast. Our Public Engagement Officer, Hannah Tait, has written about the day.
The demonstration was organised to begin at 10am yet, from 9:30am onwards carloads of people were arriving. The designated spot was directly opposite the Sea World car park. We stood proud with huge banners and individual signs, there is no way theme-park goers could miss us. Throughout the day up to 100 people were present, including many children.
The protest made such an impact that it attracted the attention of mainstream media. Channel 9 Brisbane conducted an interview and ran a segment on it for the six o’clock news. Such prime coverage is invaluable for driving our message out to a wider audience. I felt honoured to represent the movement and AFD on television!
Thanks to the support of caring AFD advocates, a giant digital billboard joined protesters and made the message very clear. Heartfelt video messages calling on Sea World to end captive breeding were played at a popular Gold Coast spot called The Spit in the morning. The billboard then joined the protest where it faced drivers with a powerful Empty the Tanks message.
Many protesters and passersby remarked on how the sign made us impossible to ignore. While the billboard faced the road, the voices from people all over the world were being played out over the speakers.
Throughout the day, I met many passionate and dedicated people. One girl in particular, Journey, had a truly inspiring story.
Journey was on holidays with her family on the Gold Coast over the Empty the Tanks weekend. On the day of the protest they were heading to Sea World. Journey was feeling ill about it all morning. When she arrived at the Sea World car park, she saw the protest across the road. This confirmed her unease about seeing dolphins in captivity and she told her family to go in without her. Journey then came over and joined us at the protest – what a legend!
Overall, the energy on the day was amazing. I was thrilled to be surrounded by so many incredibly dedicated animal lovers and inspired by so many passionate people helping to spread the Empty the Tanks message loud and proud.