NEW: Federal Crackdown on Seaquarium Prompts PETA Rally for Cruelty Charges

For Immediate Release:
September 30, 2021

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Miami – PETA has just uncovered a damning new 17-page federal inspection report revealing a slew of animal welfare violations at the Miami Seaquarium, including that it repeatedly acted against veterinarians’ instructions; housed incompatible animals together, leading to injuries and two bottlenose dolphins’ deaths; and failed to provide the orca Lolita and several other animals with sufficient shade, leaving them in direct sunlight, which can cause painful damage to their eyes. This is the first time the USDA has cited the facility for insufficient shade, even though PETA has been raising the issue for years.

When:    Friday, October 1, 12 noon

Where:    Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, 1350 N.W. 12th Ave., Miami

In response, PETA supporters will descend on the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office tomorrow to demand that Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle investigate and charge the Seaquarium with cruelty, something that PETA has been urging her to do since submitting evidence in May 2020 of the abusive conditions in which Lolita is held.

According to the newly released June 8 report, the Seaquarium went against veterinarians’ instructions when it repeatedly fed marine mammals poor-quality, foul-smelling fish; reduced Lolita’s food intake; kept forcing her to perform tricks that had likely injured her jaw; and, despite documented aggression among Lolita and the two Pacific white-sided dolphins already held with her, planned to move two more Pacific white-sided dolphins into the same tank. The Seaquarium also admitted that it had no way of keeping track of which dolphins are housed together on any particular day—so it had no way of predicting dolphin compatibility or aggression.

“The Miami Seaquarium ignored its own veterinarians’ instructions so that it could feed Lolita bad fish and force her to perform tricks that likely caused her injury among other horrors,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on state authorities to act now to protect Lolita and the other animals and to hold the Seaquarium accountable for its culture of cruelty at long last.”

The report also notes that visitors held cell phones, cameras, and even small children over the metal barrier surrounding the tank holding Lolita, placing both her and visitors at risk. Injuriously high levels of chlorine and parasites were measured in the pools, and numerous tanks were in various states of disrepair. One underwater fence was merely zip-tied together, and two dolphins broke through into an adjacent tank and apparently attacked another dolphin, inflicting at least four broken ribs.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter,  Facebook, or Instagram.

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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