Unlucky 13: Seaquarium’s New Citations Prompt PETA To Command: ‘Pay With Your Lease!’

For Immediate Release:
January 5, 2024

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Miami – PETA has obtained a just-published U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report revealing that conditions are much the same for animals (i.e., absolutely terrible) at the doomed Miami Seaquarium, which, despite lip service to the contrary, has clearly failed to clean up its act—as revealed by the 13 new federal animal welfare citations detailed in the report that show evidence of sick animals left to suffer without adequate veterinary care, penguins and dolphins held in enclosures in states of dangerous disrepair, and parrots who engaged in severe stress-induced behavior.

A crowded manatee tank at the Seaquarium. Credit: PETA

The citations resulted from violations including failing to provide adequate care for several dolphins who showed signs of gastric distress and a manatee named Clarity, who was covered in a “thick layer” of algae, large lesions, and patchy white discolorations. In a letter sent today, PETA is now upping its call for Miami-Dade County officials to immediately terminate the Seaquarium’s lease, noting that doing so is permitted by the lease’s provisions in the event of unresolved violations.

The feds also flagged the facility’s lack of an adequate enrichment plan for a bonded pair of macaws and a parrot held alone, all of whom have plucked out their feathers due to apparent psychological distress, as well as its lack of trained staff, noting that there’s currently a single veterinarian employed to care for 46 marine mammals, 50 birds, and hundreds of fish, sharks, and rays.

“Animals are in danger every minute they spend inside the Miami Seaquarium, which is failing on every level to meet their needs,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Time must be up. PETA is calling on Miami-Dade County to stop enabling the Seaquarium’s animal abuse and give this notorious abusement park the boot.”

Other violations noted in the USDA’s most recent inspection report are for numerous facilities in disrepair, including a rusted penguin enclosure with peeling paint, crumbling drywall, and black mold; dolphin pools with broken concrete; a perimeter fence with loose razor wire; and a “strong noxious odor” emanating from a bird trailer. USDA inspection reports from 2021, 2022, and throughout 2023 all document chronic and repeated animal welfare violations at the facility.

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 X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

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