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The infamous Miami Seaquarium is yet again at the center of controversy over its egregious treatment of animals following a damning federal inspection report. This time, the abusement park was cited after a dolphin bit a patron’s hand as well as for endangering a dolphin who had ingested plastic and a chunk of concrete in a deteriorating tank, holding a manatee alone in an enclosure lacking shade, and permitting a dolphin to sustain rib injuries, likely from being unable to escape from incompatible tankmates. As owner and lessor of the land, Miami-Dade County has a responsibility to help the surviving animals by finally shutting the facility down.
Miami-Dade County officials assured the public that things would change at the Miami Seaquarium after previous reports found multiple animal welfare violations there—including for staff’s starving dolphins to emaciation in an attempt to ensure that they would perform for food and holding incompatible dolphins together who ended up dying from trauma. The officials claimed that there would be compliance with all laws and greater oversight of the facility and even approved a lease transfer to the current owner, The Dolphin Company, which they presented as a savior of the park. Yet dolphins and other animals there are suffering like never before.
In their natural homes, dolphins swim up to 60 miles a day, dive as deep as 3,000 feet, and maintain dynamic relationships. Holding them in tiny tanks and forcing them to perform are manifestations of speciesism—a human-supremacist worldview—which must end. While plans to move the orca Lolita to a seaside sanctuary came too late, it’s not too late for the surviving animals still suffering at the park.
Please urge Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to shut down the Miami Seaquarium and ensure that the dolphins are sent to seaside sanctuaries, where they would finally start recovering from their lifetime of trauma and get the care they need.