Will Condemned Aquarium Send Animals to Reputable Facilities?

PETA Calls On Shuttered World Aquarium to Give Long-Suffering Animals a New Lease on Life

For Immediate Release:
June 12, 2019

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

St. Louis – After learning that two local activists just succeeded in shutting down the notorious World Aquarium, PETA fired off a letter today calling on the now-defunct aquarium to transfer all the animals there to reputable facilities.

“Sensitive animals were starved, forced into stressful public encounters, and left to languish in tiny, barren enclosures at this dismally ill-equipped operation,” says PETA Foundation Supervising Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Heather Rally. “PETA is calling on the World Aquarium to allow these long-exploited animals to live out the rest of their lives in clean, safe facilities designed to meet their complex needs.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to World Aquarium President Leonard Sonnenschein follows.

June 12, 2019

Leonard Sonnenschein, President

World Aquarium

Dear Mr. Sonnenschein,

I’m writing again on behalf of PETA and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide regarding the World Aquarium’s recent closure following safety issues and your plans to move the animals currently confined there this week. We urge you to do what’s right for the crocodiles, sloths, sharks, rays, birds, and other animals by working with PETA to send them to reputable facilities immediately.

All animals have the right to enjoy a healthy and enriching life, but few facilities have what it takes to care for wild animals properly. As you know, in the wild, rays spend their days traveling together and foraging for food on the ocean floor, but in touch tanks, their stinger barbs are trimmed and they’re subjected to constant harassment. Fish such as rays and sharks as well as reptiles like turtles need exactly the right temperature and water conditions, and a simple mechanical malfunction or temperature fluctuation can kill them within hours.

Animals suffer terribly when forced to interact with the public in cramped tanks, where they can’t escape from being grabbed, poked, and prodded by a constant barrage of human hands. In the case of crocodiles, this can lead to tragic consequences because of their inherently predatory nature and hard-to-meet needs. Small, inadequate enclosures are also no place for sloths, who are at home in trees and natural bodies of water, or birds, who need to fly great distances.

The animals at the World Aquarium have languished long enough, but now, you have an opportunity to give them a better life. Instead of forcing them to waste away at another decrepit facility, please work with us to send them to reputable facilities that can meet their unique and complex needs and provide them with the care that they desperately need. PETA may be able to assist with the associated costs.

Will you please prioritize the animals’ well-being and work with us to place them appropriately? I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards,

Melanie Johnson

Senior Campaign Coordinator, Animals in Entertainment

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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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