LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — PETA is asking the federal government to terminate SeaQuest's license.
13 Investigates has been following this story months, exposing what critics call a trail of dead animals in pursuit of profit at SeaQuest.
Now, the animal rights organization wants the government to terminate its license and refuse to issue new licenses for future SeaQuest locations.
NOT THE FIRST TIME SEAQUEST IS UNDER SCRUTINY
Read the full statement from PETA:
This morning, PETA filed a request urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to terminate the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) exhibitor license held by SeaQuest—or, at the very least, to refuse to approve the addition of the aquarium and petting zoo's proposed new locations across the country.
In the letter, PETA points out that the USDA may terminate an AWA license and refuse to add additional sites to an existing license if the licensee has been found to have violated any federal, state, or local laws pertaining to cruelty, transportation, ownership, neglect, or welfare of animals—and that SeaQuest has repeatedly violated these laws. This year, SeaQuest's Las Vegas aquarium was cited and fined $2,000 for illegally possessing four baby otters. In addition, a SeaQuest manager in Colorado was charged with cruelty to animals after a sloth sustained serious burns to his face from a heat lamp, and Colorado officials suspended the Littleton location's state permit after a series of state law and permit violations, among other incidents.
"In just a few years, SeaQuest's rap sheet has grown to include a manager on trial for cruelty to animals and various violations of both local and state laws," says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. "PETA is calling on the USDA to yank this cruel petting zoo's license."
Earlier this year, after a spirited PETA campaign, SeaQuest withdrew its application to open an aquarium inside a mall on Long Island, New York, and a pending lawsuit filed by PETA, the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, and a local activist challenges the city of Fort Lauderdale's issuance of a zoning permit for a proposed new SeaQuest aquarium there.
Read SeaQuest's response:
PETA has targeted SeaQuest for a long time now, and has brought to the public many inaccurate and exaggerated stories in support of their motto against animal captivity.
We have standard operating procedures in place that our team members follow as they care for the animals and support the animal experience. Two national husbandry and marine directors oversee, train, and conduct frequent inspections with managers and team members to ensure that standard operating procedures are followed at each location and that animals are happy and healthy. Each facility has a team of highly trained husbandry experts, whose work is inspected every month by a certified veterinarian who fills out a written report on the cleanliness, health, habitat, and overall performance of each husbandry department. In addition, we have routine inspections from local, state and federal regulatory agencies and fully cooperate with and are in compliance with all requirements. To suggest any of these highly capable agencies need PETA's oversight on how to interpret regulatory compliance is short sighted at best, and a deceptive media tactic at worst.
Contrary to what PETA says, we provide a fun, safe and educational experience in all of our seven facilities for millions of guests each year. We are also a welcome community partner that, since 2016, has donated more than $1.1 million of in-kind contributions to nonprofits, school districts and community based organizations to support their efforts. In addition, we have rescued more than 400 animals, and give a free annual passport to anyone who adopts a pet from a local rescue.
We are looking forward to bring the experience to New Jersey, Virginia and Florida later this year and appreciate the support of all the community members who are excited to visit our new facilities later this fall.