Miami Seaquarium has a history of animal welfare violations, so it’s no surprise that a new PETA report reveals once again underfeeding, emaciation, and rotten fish at the abusement park.
PETA reported that records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other government agencies, in addition to testimony from animal-care experts, have revealed shocking abuse. They found that numerous animals at the park were being fed low-quality or rotting fish, others were underweight or emaciated following cuts to their food supply, and a manatee died after being starved. Those are just some of the welfare problems that were found at the park.
A woman who worked as a veterinarian for Miami Seaquarium, Dr. Jenna Wallace, has been cooperating with the USDA following revealing investigations. She knows firsthand how Lolita, along with other animals at the park, are being underfed despite concerns from the veterinarians.
“During the time I was briefly employed as a veterinarian at Miami Seaquarium in 2021, there were multiple animals, including … Lolita, with significant diet cuts that were very concerning. Their hydration status, health, and even their overall attitudes were affected. This was demonstrated not only by abnormal blood work but also the multiple videos I provided during the USDA investigation of [Lolita] aggressively chasing the Pacific white-sided dolphins, one of whom died during the federal investigation,” said Dr. Jenna Wallace.
After cooperating with the USDA after the June 2021 inspection, Wallace was reportedly offered one month’s salary to sign a nondisclosure agreement and leave the facility grounds immediately. She declined and has not been back to the park since. The new veterinarian, Dr. Shelby Loos, joined after Wallace left. Since Loos has been there, an emaciated manatee has died, multiple harbor seals have died, a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Catalina died of suspected trauma, and Lolita became critically ill.
Photos uploaded to social media showing the animals that are used for entertainment show animals that appear to be incredibly emaciated.
“The scapula (shoulder), ribs, and caudal transverse processes in some of these animals are prominent even from a distance. This indicates suspected emaciation or poor body condition in general,” Wallace says.
After the manatee died, the necropsy revealed an empty GI tract. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) suspended the Miami Seaquarium from acquiring any rescued manatees and demoted it from a critical care facility for rescued animals to a holding facility. They said the demotion was because it “was not consistent with the standard of care for a critical care facility.”
The amusement park, which opened in 1955, has long had the nickname of “abusement park” and is built on exploiting intelligent marine animals for profit. Finally, after years of pressure from the public, SeaWorld announced the end of its orca breeding program in March 2016. Although this was a win, we can’t forget about the other animals and every other amusement park that exploits these amazing animals. The torment, imprisonment, and artificial breeding of their animals need to end. These animals should not be in captivity to begin with.
This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 18 September 2022. Lead Image Source : ventdusud/Shutterstock.
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