For Immediate Release:
August 16, 2023
David Perle 202-483-7382
Trumbull, Conn. – After PETA filed numerous complaints with various federal and state authorities detailing egregious animal welfare issues and numerous injuries to customers at SeaQuest, the notorious shopping mall petting zoo has announced that it is permanently shutting down.
PETA had alerted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) earlier this year to a whistleblower’s allegations that two Bengal cats didn’t receive treatment for infections for over a month, cockatiels were deprived of food to force them to interact with customers, the facility was teeming with cockroaches and fruit flies, and multiple people sustained scratches and bites from animals, including a wallaby, a parrot, and an otter. Whistleblower photos are available here.
Earlier this month, PETA obtained a USDA report revealing that the agency had cited SeaQuest for having insufficient distance and barriers between a wallaby and the public after the group alerted the agency to documentation showing children surrounding and touching the animal. SeaQuest Trumbull’s many prior USDA citations include incidents in which a staffer hit an otter with a metal bowl, rabbits were left without food or water, an otter bit a child, and enclosures were improperly maintained and filled with feces and debris.
“This seedy facility will no longer exploit vulnerable animals for profit, ignore their illnesses and wounds, and endanger the public,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA is calling for the remaining animals to be transferred to reputable facilities and urging everyone to stay away from places like SeaQuest, which fail to give animals even the most basic care.”
The chain’s other facilities across the country have similar histories: Hundreds of animals have died at them or in transit, and the USDA has issued numerous citations for inadequate animal care, improper maintenance, and injuries to members of the public. PETA has stopped SeaQuest from opening in three locations (Florida, New York, and North Dakota). With the closure of the Connecticut facility, SeaQuest has eight operations remaining.
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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.