The infamous Miami Seaquarium is unfortunately embroiled in yet another scandal as they face accusations of mistreatment towards their animal residents. According to a recent federal inspection report, the amusement park has been cited for a number of offenses including a patron’s hand being bitten by a dolphin. Additionally, it has been reported that the park endangered one of their dolphins by allowing it to ingest plastic and a chunk of concrete in an outdated tank. The park also came under fire for their treatment of other animals, such as a manatee being held alone in an enclosure with no shade and a dolphin that sustained injuries due to being trapped with incompatible tankmates. Many are now calling on Miami-Dade County, who is the owner and lessor of the land the park is on, to take responsibility for the surviving animals’ welfare by shutting down the problematic facility.
When Miami-Dade County officials provided assurance to the public about bringing a significant change at the Miami Seaquarium, they had reasons to believe that they could deliver on their promise. The facility was riddled with violations of animal welfare regulations. Some of them, such as staff-induced starvation of dolphins, caused emaciation of the animals to the point of performing for food. Others were much more severe, like holding dolphins that are incompatible with each other, leading to significant trauma that resulted in death. The officials pledged to enforce regulations and keep a keen eye on the facility, ensuring that everything goes according to plan. Even the lease transfer to the current owner, The Dolphin Company, was seen as hope for salvaging the park. However, the reality on the ground is much different – animals are undergoing suffering that seems to have no end in sight.
Dolphins are incredibly intelligent and social creatures. In their natural habitat, they exhibit a vast range of dynamic behavior, such as swimming long distances of up to 60 miles in a single day, diving deep into the ocean as far as 3,000 feet, and maintaining complex relationships with their pod members. It is disheartening to see such majestic animals being held captive in tiny tanks and being forced to perform for human entertainment. This is a clear example of speciesism, a belief that promotes human superiority over other forms of life.
Though the recent plan to move the orca Lolita to a seaside sanctuary has come too late, there is still hope for the other dolphins that continue to suffer captivity at the park. It is high time we recognize and understand the importance of treating each living being, regardless of species, with compassion and respect. It is our responsibility to end this practice of keeping marine animals captive and realize that their true home is in the vast open waters where they belong.
There is a growing movement calling upon Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to use her voice and her powerful position to advocate for the closure of the Miami Seaquarium. This important step would not only have far-reaching positive effects on the wellbeing of dolphins currently in captivity there, but also send a strong message to society about the proper treatment of animals in our care. As many concerned individuals and organizations have pointed out, captive dolphins at the Seaquarium are not only subjected to a life of confinement, but also traumatic living conditions that cause them great distress. A shut-down would demonstrate a clear commitment to animal welfare and be a true reflection of the values that underlie our society. Our hope is that Mayor Levine Cava will listen to this important call for reform and take concrete steps forward towards a better future for these intelligent creatures who share our planet.
The notorious facility was cited for apparently doing the following:
- Having vacancies in vital staff positions, including veterinarian and vet tech roles, which left a single veterinarian responsible for the care of almost 50 marine mammals and hundreds of birds, fish, and other animals
- Failing to prevent a dolphin from biting a patron’s hand during an interactive session
- Allowing a dolphin to ingest plastic, sand, glass filtration materials, and a chunk of cement from a deteriorating tank
- Failing to provide a manatee kept in isolation with adequate shade from the sun
- Housing a dolphin with incompatible tankmates, leading to the animal sustaining multiple bilateral rib fractures
PETA is urging Miami-Dade County officials to shut down this abusement park and compel it to send the animals to seaside sanctuaries, where they would finally be able to start recovering from their lifetime of trauma.
Conscientious people should stay far away from the Miami Seaquarium and every other marine park that exploits animals for entertainment.
If we set aside all other aspects and focus solely on one matter, we will find that the size of the pool wherein these majestic creatures, whales and dolphins, reside, is simply astonishing. It is indeed quite concerning how small the space is when compared to pools that many individuals may have in their personal homes.
One cannot even begin to fathom how these intelligent and social animals manage to survive and thrive in such an enclosed environment.
It is a matter that requires immediate attention and action.
As inhabitants of this planet, it is our responsibility to ensure the well-being of all creatures that coexist with us. We must show empathy and take every necessary measure to ensure that these beings are provided with the appropriate space that nature intended them to have. It is only then that they can truly flourish, and we can work towards a brighter and more sustainable future for all.And, on the week of and days that are the ‘Day of the Dead,’ Let’s Help Honor Animals Who Died in Marine Park Tanks