Houston Interactive Aquarium Under Fire From Feds After Dozens of Birds Escape


For Immediate Release:
March 28, 2024

David Perle 202-483-7382

Houston – PETA has just obtained a newly released U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report dated February 12 revealing that Houston Interactive Aquarium & Animal Preserve received a critical citation after 40 parakeets escaped through a tear in the mesh of an enclosure and were never recovered. The birds, native to Australia, would have struggled to survive a subsequent cold snap—during which temperatures dropped below freezing—and likely perished.

budgie (parakeet) aviary at Houston Interactive Aquarium

Parakeets held at Houston Interactive Aquarium & Animal Preserve. Credit: PETA

In less than three years, the facility has received 17 citations—three of them critical and four repeat—and an official warning from the USDA. In September 2023, it was cited for allowing unmonitored public contact with a giraffe and a camel, which, the inspector noted, posed a “significant risk to the health and well-being of both the animals and the public.” As its name conveys, Houston Interactive Aquarium forces animals into stressful and dangerous encounters with visitors in which they’re held, poked, and prodded.

“Houston Interactive Aquarium has shown again and again that it can’t or won’t provide even the basic minimum standard of care for the animals it confines and exploits,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA is calling on everyone to avoid this facility and other similarly seedy operations as though lives depend on it, because they do.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment—notes that Houston Interactive Aquarium is closely tied to Ammon Covino, who has spent time in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking and can’t legally hold a federal exhibitor’s license.

PETA points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.


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