For Immediate Release:
December 3, 2020
David Perle 202-483-7382
Las Vegas – This morning, PETA fired off a letter to the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) requesting an investigation into SeaQuest Las Vegas, which has been operating “Fish Spa” and “Snorkel With the Stingrays” sessions without the requisite SNHD permit.
Any facility at which the public is exposed to water for recreational purposes is required to have such a permit, which includes strict sanitation requirements designed to protect human health—requirements that, PETA notes, SeaQuest cannot possibly meet. The “Fish Spa,” in which fish feed on guests’ dead skin cells, is inherently unsanitary because neither the pools nor the fish can be sterilized between customers, so diseases and fungal infections can easily spread. Accordingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that fish pedicures are illegal in more than 10 states, and are prohibited by the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology at facilities it regulates. Similarly, the “Snorkel With the Stingrays” pool likely cannot meet the SNHD’s required water-quality levels for human swimmers without endangering the stingrays, sharks, tropical fish, and other animals in the pool.
“Fish aren’t pumice stones, and stingrays aren’t pool floats,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA is calling on health authorities to crack down on SeaQuest’s filthy fish spas and ‘swim with stingrays’ gimmicks, which are dangerous for everyone in the pools, from the humans to the little fish.”
In addition to being unsanitary, fish pedicures are inherently cruel: Garra rufa fish, the animals most commonly used, are typically starved so that they’ll eat human skin. The government of Turkey has introduced legal protections for them in order to combat overfishing and exploitation driven by the “fish spa” trend.
Numerous animals have suffered and died at SeaQuest Las Vegas, including a sloth named Flash and an otter named Jelly. Former SeaQuest employees claim that birds were stepped on and killed, turtles were crushed by children, and an octopus was boiled to death in a tank.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.