Last year, Atlanta Pride’s raucous party at the Georgia Aquarium raised the ire of many members of the LGBT community. PETA Vice President Dan Mathews, who is gay, attended the party to ask the organizers to consider a different location in the future. When he published a piece in The Huffington Post describing what he observed and what aquarium employees told him about how the loud, booming music torments the aquarium’s marine mammals, who navigate and communicate via sensitive sonar systems, people jumped to the animals’ defense. But Atlanta Pride has planned another party, with amplifiers aplenty, at the Georgia Aquarium. And again, gay animal rights advocates are calling “party foul.”
In captivity, these whales have little room for exercise and are cut off from their natural social groups.
Jane Lynch wrote to Buck Cooke, managing director of Atlanta Pride, on PETA’s behalf and urged him to move the party to a more humane venue:
Many of the marine mammals at the aquarium are extremely sensitive to sound, and large parties create an even more stressful environment than they already endure in captivity. Animals such as beluga whales and dolphins communicate with one another by means of an intricate sonar system. The excess noise disorients them, thwarts their ability to communicate, and sometimes causes them to attack one another …. Given the animals’ extreme sensitivity to noise, the aquarium does not seem like an appropriate venue for such a large and festive gathering.
Animal advocates and the LGBT community often work hand in hand because we both understand oppression and cruelty, so there’s nothing to be proud of about a Pride event that hurts animals. Please contact Atlanta Pride Managing Director Buck Cooke today and urge him to switch the event’s kickoff party to a more humane venue. Atlanta Pride should be a positive, enjoyable experience for everyone, including the animals.