For Immediate Release:
November 8, 2022
David Perle 202-483-7382
Miami – On the heels of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report revealing that the Miami Seaquarium restricted dolphins’ food by up to 60% for months in order to make them obedient for performances, PETA sent a letter to Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners today urging them not to finalize the Seaquarium’s new lease and instead terminate it. The action comes after the board of commissioners voted a year ago to transfer the Seaquarium’s lease to its new owner, The Dolphin Company, contingent on additional oversight stipulations. But the board still hasn’t finalized the lease, likely due to the Seaquarium’s failings.
The USDA report notes that starving the animals increased instances of dolphin aggression toward trainers and the public and that a dolphin named Aries regurgitated “excessively” for 88 days in a period of just over four months. The inspector noted that the regurgitation “could have been associated with diet cuts or other medical concerns”—yet the Seaquarium failed to provide Aries with adequate veterinary care and continued starving him.
“The Miami Seaquarium has imprisoned highly intelligent and social animals in totally wretched conditions, starved them, and exploited them for years, and it needs to be shut down,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Year after year, this company makes false proclamations of better care yet fails these animals, and PETA is urging the board of commissioners to terminate the Seaquarium’s lease.”
A scathing 17-page report on operations at the Seaquarium issued by the USDA in June 2021 revealed that animals were fed rotten fish, subjected to dirty water, and held incompatibly, resulting in serious injuries and death, including two dolphins who died after trauma inflicted by other dolphins, one who drowned after he became caught in the fence of the enclosure and whose body also showed signs of traumatic injury caused by other animals, and another who was left bloodied and blinded in one eye as a result of aggressive interactions with other dolphins. Despite all this, a manager “indicated that they do not have a way of tracking which animals are housed together on a particular day.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—notes that the Seaquarium’s apparent violations of Florida’s cruelty-to-animals laws remain under investigation by the state attorney’s office.
For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.