On the heels of the recent death of 12-year-old Beetle—a dolphin who was imprisoned in a tank in the desert at The Mirage casino and hotel in Las Vegas since 2010 and was on a breeding loan from SeaWorld—PETA dispatched a letter this morning to MGM Resorts International Chair and CEO James Murren and The Mirage President Trevor Scherrer urging them to spare other dolphins the misery and dangers of captivity by severing all ties with SeaWorld and closing the dolphin exhibit. PETA is recommending a new business model if MGM wants to keep dolphins in the mix in a more enlightened era: Switch from live captives to stunning cutting-edge virtual reality educational experiences like those created by Magic Leap.
As PETA points out in its letter, Beetle is the second dolphin to die prematurely at The Mirage’s exhibit in recent years and at least the 15th to drop dead since 1990. The cramped concrete tanks at The Mirage and other venues housing captive dolphins—including SeaWorld—condemn these intelligent animals to a lifetime of confinement, forced to swim in their own diluted waste and deprived of everything that is natural and important to them, including the currents, sights, and vastness of the ocean as well as their families and freedom.
“By swapping dolphin tanks for state-of-the-art virtual-reality, holographic, or advanced robotic attractions, The Mirage would spare sensitive animals the misery of life in captivity and provide a 21st century experience for the public,” says PETA Foundation Director of Animal Law Jared Goodman. “As would-be visitors reject SeaWorld’s cruelty and attendance plummets, PETA suggests that MGM see the writing on the tank wall and get out of the captive-dolphin business.”