Actor Makes Impassioned Appeal to Oyster Bay Officials on Behalf of PETA
For Immediate Release:
October 30, 2018
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Long Island, N.Y. – Actor and Massapequa native Alec Baldwin has sent a letter urging officials in Oyster Bay to block an attempt by SeaQuest to open a new location at the Westfield Sunrise mall, citing the long history of animal-neglect allegations—as well as enforcement actions taken by a state finance department, a state wildlife agency, a state agriculture department, and local code enforcement—associated with SeaQuest’s owner, Vince Covino, or his other aquariums.
“The owner of this sleazy chain, Vince Covino, has not only flouted the law nearly everywhere he goes but also left untold animal suffering in his wake,” writes Baldwin. “I urge you to deny the permit application that would allow Vince Covino to bring his cruel and deadly operation to our lovely hamlet.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that SeaQuest’s history of animal mistreatment includes an instance at the Colorado location when, in an apparent effort to circumvent permit requirements, the company reportedly gave 80 birds to a teenage employee who later gave them away for free in a Lowe’s parking lot.
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Baldwin’s letter to Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino and the town board follows.
Dear Supervisor Saladino and Town Board,
I grew up in Massapequa, and I still visit, from time to time. When I learned from my friends at PETA about plans to allow a SeaQuest aquarium to open at the Westfield Sunrise Mall, my reaction was immediate: Please do not allow this awful operation in town.
The owner of this sleazy chain, Vince Covino, has not only flouted the law nearly everywhere he goes but also left untold animal suffering in his wake.
Covino and SeaQuest have faced scrutiny from a state finance agency, a state wildlife agency, and a state agriculture agency. Allegations of animal neglect have followed him from Oregon to Nevada to Colorado.
Inspectors from the Colorado Department of Agriculture issued a cease and desist order earlier this year because SeaQuest was operating without a permit. When the permit was denied, the company brazenly went ahead and opened anyway. It was also fined by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department for importing three mammals into Colorado without permits.
Last year, Covino was fined $5,000 by the Idaho Department of Finance after failing to reveal a prior securities-related disciplinary fine and suspension to potential investors.
Former employees at Covino’s aquariums have come forward to report appalling neglect and abuse, including animals who were reportedly starving and routinely denied veterinary care. One former staffer said that he saw “at least 300 animals” die at the SeaQuest Las Vegas location. At the now-closed Portland Aquarium owned by Covino and his brother, Ammon, more than 200 animals reportedly died in just a few months—many allegedly from starvation, infections, and other seemingly preventable causes.
I urge you to deny the permit application that would allow Vince Covino to bring his cruel and deadly operation to our lovely hamlet. Decent people do not want it here.