Federal inspectors find dolphins in Miami aquarium have become more aggressive after 'sudden' cuts in diet

Federal inspectors find dolphins in Miami aquarium have become more aggressive after ‘sudden’ cuts in diet

Miami — The July 6 report released by the USDA on Friday details how inspectors said the Miami aquarium dramatically cut the diets of nine dolphins to make them work better — but instead led the angry dolphins to resist.

Jared Goodman, deputy general counsel for the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation, said the report confirms what they have said for years about the terrible suffering of animals in the marine aquarium.

“This is a clear indication that the marine aquarium is not able to adequately care for these animals,” Goodman said.

The Dolphin Corporation has purchased and operated the Miami Seaquarium since March.

The USDA report details that the aquarium cut some diets from 13 pounds of fish to just three pounds per day. Altogether, there was a 60% reduction in the dolphins’ daily food ration, resulting in emaciated dolphins emaciated as shown in some of the photos published by PETA last month.

“It’s heartbreaking to see that Aries lost 63 pounds and Colbalt lost 104 pounds (in just four months) and that dolphin feeding three pounds a day happens but only when they are sick,” said Gina Wallace, a former physician. Veterinarian at Seaquarium.

The USDA also released another scathing report in June 2021 – saying that the previous owners of Miami Aquarium’s aquarium, Parks Reunidos, had also dramatically cut off diets for the animals in the park and even fed rotten fish to Tokitae, the 56-year-old who has been since That moment. performance retirement.

The new vet told the inspectors she wasn’t aware of cutting diets, but Wallace isn’t buying them.

“I find it very hard to believe that the vet wasn’t told the animals were eating three or four pounds of fish a day,” Wallace said.

Even more alarming, the USDA report details incidents of dolphin assault on trainers and members of the public. In April, a video of Dolphin hitting a trainer frequently appears after breaking out of his routine during the show. The report says it happened again.

On July 7, a dolphin named Cayman hit a trainer in deep water. Three trainers jumped into the water to distract the dolphin so that the injured trainer could exit safely.

The USDA report also says that dolphins have targeted guests and that it details several aggressive incidents, including one when a dolphin “penetrated” a member of the audience during an interaction in the water.

“You’ve got a guest’s hand,” Wallace said, “and the animal goes and puts their mouths on it like that, they’ll refer to that as uttering—to me that’s biting.”

The USDA report attributes this assault to cutting off the dolphin’s diet, but Patrick Pearson, general manager of the Miami Aquarium, fights it all off.

This aggression happens for many reasons. “From what I understand, it could be seasonal,” Pearson said. “It could be a time of year when they behave differently, as a lot of animals do in the wild.”

Pearson admits though that the dolphins’ diets were cut short within weeks of the new owners’ takeover of the marine aquarium.

“Our team came and evaluated all the animals in the park and determined that some were overweight, and they adjusted their diet based on their excess weight,” Pearson said, adding that the change was “absolutely” unrelated to their performance.

Not mentioned in the USDA report is the agreement between USDA and Dolphin when it acquired the park that the Tokitae would not perform or be shown. This also means that the USDA no longer oversees orcas. The aquarium insists Tokitai is getting better and eating more, so soon there will be a joint announcement with Lolita’s group of friends about her future.

Read the USDA Examination

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