A group of protesters made a bold statement against the troubled Miami Seaquarium following a damning inspection report.
On Monday, the first of two PETA protests unfolded outside the Miami-Dade County mayor’s office, demanding the seaquarium be shut down.
“Miami Seaquarium! Shut it down!” protesters chanted.
The latest USDA inspection report included findings of a nail and pieces of shell in a dolphin’s throat, a dolphin who was kicked in the mouth by a guest, and other findings that include issues with facility cleanliness and the mishandling of other animals.
“I want them to do more. PETA wants them to do more, we want them to terminate the lease,” said Amanda Brody, a senior campaigner at PETA. “They have the power to terminate the lease. They can help save these animals’ lives by getting them out of this shady facility.”
Last month, Levine Cava issued a letter to the owners of the Seaquarium, expressing concern over the welfare of the animals and threatening to explore actions against the facility, including lease termination.
“We are doing what we can,” the mayor told NBC6 when asked for an update on the status of the facility. “We’re very concerned about the welfare of the animals at the Seaquarium. We’ve let them know that we’re in the process of taking further legal action.”
Over the last several months, the USDA has found numerous repeat violations at the Seaquarium, even though the Dolphin Company has pushed back on those claims, including the potential confiscation of animals.
“There is really no reason why this shady facility should remain open. We do really want the county to act swiftly,” Brody said. “The animals are in critical need of help and every single day that these animals remain in this abusive facility is another day that these animals’ lives are in danger.”
PETA is planning another protest on Friday, outside an event the mayor is expected to attend.
The Miami Seaquarium has not responded to NBC6’s repeated attempts for comment.