PETA to T-REX Cafe: Please Retire Fish Tanks

After Aquarium Bursts, Group Urges Orlando Restaurant’s Owner to Replace Captive Fish With Dazzling Animal-Free Sea-Themed Displays

For Immediate Release:
March 19, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla.

The T-REX Cafe made news Monday when an aquarium burst, flooding part of the eatery and sending staff scurrying to save the fish inside. T-REX, along with its owner, Houston-based Landry’s, Inc., has announced plans to repair the tank, but PETA wants them to deep-six that idea.

That’s why the group has sent an urgent appeal to T-REX General Manager Patrick McKinney and Landry’s President and CEO Tilman Fertitta urging them to scrap their fish tanks altogether and go with a more modern, humane concept—such as artistic blown-glass fish, underwater videos on DVD or Blu-ray, or even robotic fish that realistically mimic the swimming movements of real fish.

“Fish are living, feeling beings with very specific needs and should never be used as decorations,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “T-REX can make a big splash without sentencing fish to a life of stress locked inside a tank.”

In its letter, PETA points out that fish are highly intelligent animals who recognize other individual fish and form complex social relationships. PETA also notes that the constant buzz of pumps and filters, loud noises in the dining area, and flashing cameras create a highly stressful environment for the fish locked inside the aquarium.

For more information, please visit PETA’s blog.


PETA’s letter to T-REX Cafe and Landry’s, Inc., follows.


March 19, 2014


Tilman Fertitta
Chair, President, and CEO
Landry’s, Inc.
c/o Rhonda Searles, Administrative Assistant

Patrick McKinney
General Manager
T-REX Cafe Orlando

Dear Messrs. Fertitta and McKinney:

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Florida, to urge you not to replace the aquarium that recently burst at T-REX’s Orlando location. I hope that once you review the following information, you’ll agree that a crowded dining room is no place for sensitive and easily frightened fish, who should be swimming free.

Even the largest tank cannot offer the kind of environment that fish—who are genetically adapted to swim in the vastness of the ocean—need in order to thrive. Research shows that fish are intelligent animals who can recognize individuals and maintain complex social relationships. The constant buzz of tank filters and pumps as well as outside noises is very stressful to fish and can even interfere with their communication. Ichthyologist Phillip Lobel says that “[a]t the least, we’re disrupting their communication; at worst, we’re driving them bonkers.” Being exposed to loud noises and flashing cameras in your dining area certainly has a negative impact on the health and well-being of the animals in the tank.

Artistic and elegant blown-glass animals can be used to create unique, eye-catching displays. In addition, attractive robotic fish that can swim around a tank just as real fish can are widely available, and high-definition aquarium videos on DVD and Blu-ray offer the same beauty and calming effects that a live-animal aquarium does but without any costly upkeep or liability in the event of another incident such as this one.

This is the perfect time for Landry’s and T-REX to think “outside the tank.” Please use this opportunity to remove all aquariums from your restaurant permanently and embrace one of the cruelty-free decorations that we’ve suggested.

Thank you for your consideration.

Kind regards,

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

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