Theme Park Aquarium Idea Sends PETA off the Deep End

Waterpark Slides and Dinosaur Rides Are the Smart Business Choices for Today’s Family-Friendly Entertainment

For Immediate Release:
July 19, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Louisville, Ky.

After hearing that plans for a Louisville theme park include an aquarium stocked with captive fish (including sharks), penguins, and other aquatic animals, PETA has waded in, writing today to the executive behind the venture to urge him to leave the animals in the oceans where they belong and stick to exciting, animal-free attractions like rides and slides—all of which go over swimmingly with today’s kids.

In its letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out that the aquarium idea is all wet. While the dinosaur-themed section of the park would enthrall visitors and the water rides would satisfy thrill-seekers, the aquarium would kill the fun (and, undoubtedly, some of the animals, as accidents are bound to happen)—as well as ticket sales, because public support for animal-exploiting businesses has taken a dive.

“Sticking an add-on aquarium onto a theme park takes away from other features that are both exciting and animal-friendly,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA urges park planners to pull the plug on the proposed tanks and spare sensitive animals a lifetime of suffering in confinement.”

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PETA’s letter to Ed Dana, founder of Kentucky Journey into the Oceans, follows.

July 19, 2017

Ed Dana, Founder

Kentucky Journey into the Oceans

Dear Mr. Dana,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide to urge you to omit animals from your plans for Kentucky Journey into the Oceans.

Captivity can be deadly for sharks, who have been known to travel 35 miles a day in the wild and usually hunt alone. It’s not uncommon for these free-roaming beings to die within days of capture. The survivors are susceptible to skin problems and scoliosis, the result of being in crowded tanks, and the stress often leads to aggressive behavior. Almost all captive sharks have shorter life spans than their species’ life expectancy in the wild.

Captive penguins are vulnerable to infectious diseases such as pododermatitis—lesions on their footpads. Stingrays are shy animals who like to spend most of their time partially buried in sand. The tedium of captivity can drive octopuses, considered the most intelligent invertebrate, to extremes. One flooded an aquarium after she disassembled a valve; another short-circuited a building when he squirted water onto a light fixture.

The vast majority of tropical fish can’t be bred in captivity, so they’re abducted from the coral reefs where they live. They’re typically sprayed with sodium cyanide, which results in severe gasping, loss of balance, and total loss of respiratory function. Some die immediately from exposure, others in transit, and others when they’re dropped into tanks. Overfishing has also endangered the population of some species, and cyanide kills reefs.

Putting animals on display is also bad for business. Profits and attendance at SeaWorld have been in a downward spiral because the public has made it clear, through protests and boycotts, how they feel about holding animals captive: It’s not entertainment.

People are enthralled by, and learn from, innovative experiences like the dinosaur park that you’ve proposed. They also love waterparks and rides. We urge you to make Kentucky into the Oceans a family-friendly experience that focuses on these attractions—not on animal suffering and deprivation.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this important issue. I look forward to discussing it with you.


Alexa Frandina-Brown

Campaigns Coordinator

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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