After years of alleged dolphin abuse at Miami Seaquarium, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has said enough is enough! As reported by Local10.com, the Mayor has sent a letter to the management of the facility that the County is “…[pursuing] the termination of the Amended and Restated Lease Agreement.”
Shortages of professionally-trained employees, insufficient living conditions, multiple aggressive incidents, food deprivation, placing incompatible animals together, infrastructure violations – the list of alleged transgressions at Miami Seaquarium goes on and on.
The letter, dated January 21, 2024 describes the County’s “…deep-seated concerns regarding the quality of care provided to the animals at the Seaquarium.” Citing “…multiple and repeated instances of animal welfare violations” as documented by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the letter states that “…the Lessee has failed to promptly rectify these matters, culminating in the issuance of a Notice of Intent to Confiscate four animals by the USDA.” (This is the first time in three decades that the USDA has taken such an action with regards to marine mammals.)
“It’s time to close the chapter on dolphin and whale captivity in the City of Miami and replace it with cruelty-free entertainment and educational options.” ~ Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project.
The letter goes on to say that “…[the] County views these repeated violations not only as a breach of the terms and conditions outlined in the Amended and Restated Lease Agreement but, more critically, as a failure to uphold the requirement to maintain the animals in accordance with federal laws.”
“The animal welfare, the integrity of the veterinarians, curators, trainers, and the facility as a whole have been compromised and lacking for quite some time now. There is no doubt in my mind that the facility has had inadequate veterinary care since 2021. It should not have taken this long for the Mayor to step in. In regard to confiscating animals and pulling the lease, unfortunately I will believe it when I see it.” ~ Dr. Jenna Wallace, DVM, a veterinarian at the Miami Seaquarium who was briefly employed until July 2021, and present during the June 2021 inspection of the facility.
For decades, Dolphin Project has vigorously campaigned against the facility’s use of captive dolphins, including obtaining over 20,000 signatures asking the County to terminate the lease with Miami Seaquarium. Over their years of operation (Miami Seaquarium opened its doors in 1955), the facility has been cited for numerous animal welfare issues relating to their captive dolphins and whales.
Lolita, the most famous orca in captivity died at Miami Seaquarium on August 18, 2023, after spending over 50 years in the smallest orca tank in North America. Despite Lolita being 20 feet long, her tank was only 80 feet across. Her exposure to the sun and weather violated Section 3.103(3)(b) of the Animal Welfare Act. Her tank was also 13 feet shorter than what was required by the Animal Welfare Act (Section 3.104).
TAKE ACTION NOW for the dolphins at Miami Seaquarium.
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