So word has broken out that Austin will soon have a for-profit aquarium to add to the list of attractions the city offers. I am beyond saddened and disgusted by this news (my feeling for zoos, circuses, and aquariums are no secret). The two owners of this upcoming aquarium are already in legal trouble for their other ventures. The Austin Aquarium Facebook page claims no connection to the Portland or Idaho Aquariums, but, pardon the pun, this is very fishy since all three are owned by the same two people. Complaints about the Portland Aquarium abound, and there is even a Facebook page to boycott:
“The one in Portland is atrocious. It is too small for animals and visitors. Staff do not have to have a background in marine biology and they don’t care how people treat the animals. A hammerhead shark pup was already killed by kits grabbing it and picking it up out of the water. And you can’t even wash your hands after touching the animals.”
We have no right to imprison these animals in an environment in which we profit. Would the world really suffer if there were no Circus, no Sea World, no Zoos? You take an animal from a home where the boundaries are endless and place them in a tank to simply put on a show for you? How dare these places profit from a wild animal’s captivity. In the wild, sea creatures can swim hundreds of miles a day in the open ocean, can have complex family networks, and enjoy their specific ways of hunting/interacting/living. In captivity, their natural instincts and ways of being are completely suppressed, their life expectancy is much shorter, and their quality of life is abysmal. The same can be said for all the species of animals kept in captivity at zoos, circuses, aquariums, and places like Sea World.
I’m sickened by the excitement of those who want to take their children to see what is really nothing more than a disgusting freak show of abused animals in tiny jail cells. Children learn nothing of value by seeing the row after row of tanks filled with depressed fish and animals. If you wish to have a day out with your children and enjoy nature, visit a local park or volunteer at the local animal shelter. If you are at all concerned for the treatment and welfare of fish and animals, please make a point to boycott this upcoming Austin Aquarium and help spread the word about this disgusting venture.