Lawsuit Takes Aim at Shady ‘Museum’ Bid

PETA, ARFF Sue City for Helping Animal-Exploiting Operation Circumvent Zoning Laws

For Immediate Release:
March 6, 2019

Contact:
Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Armed with damning public records, PETA, the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, and local activist Ana Campos filed a lawsuit today against the city of Fort Lauderdale for unlawfully issuing the notorious aquarium and petting zoo chain SeaQuest a development permit to open up shop in a former Lord & Taylor store in the Galleria mall.

PETA and ARFF’s lawsuit contends that because an aquarium is not permitted in the Galleria under city zoning laws, SeaQuest rebranded itself on paper as a “museum” in order to fit within the code. It was subsequently issued a permit under the false pretense of being a museum—despite the fact that its primary purpose is exhibiting live animals.

“This slimy attempt to skirt city zoning codes is more evidence that SeaQuest holds as much disregard for the law as it does for animals’ lives,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is appalled that city officials would allow this facility to pass itself off as something it’s blatantly not, and we look forward to seeing this unlawful permit rescinded.”

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” and the group opposes speciesism, which is a supremacist worldview. Former SeaQuest employees have come forward with allegations of appalling neglect and abuse, including that animals were reportedly starved and routinely denied veterinary care. At SeaQuest’s Littleton, Colorado, location, at least 30 people—including a visitor who sustained a serious hand laceration from being bitten by a monitor lizard—have reportedly been injured by animals. SeaQuest Las Vegas was recently cited and fined $2,000 for unlawfully breeding otters, and former employees there alleged that birds were stepped on and killed, turtles were crushed by children, and an octopus died after being boiled alive in a tank.

PETA’s other efforts to shut down SeaQuest include organizing celebrity campaigns and protests as well as rallying members of the public to urge malls and other venues to cut ties with the cruel aquarium.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind