(CNN) - SeaWorld said trainers will no longer stand or ride on dolphins.
The move follows nearly a year of pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA, but SeaWorld says that had nothing to do with the changes, calling PETA a group of “ill-informed activists.”
Instead, SeaWorld said it’s “continually evolving its animal presentations for both guests and their animals.” SeaWorld also insists the practices are not harmful to dolphins.
But PETA is claiming victory, saying, “stopping trainers from treating dolphins like surfboards means less abuse at SeaWorld. But orcas and other dolphins continue to suffer in tiny concrete tanks.”
Meanwhile, SeaWorld has reached a $65 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed by investors in 2014. It followed revelations on the treatment of orcas in the documentary “Blackfish.”
The suit claimed SeaWorld misled investors by not disclosing mistreatment.
SeaWorld said in court documents the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.