The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited the San Antonio Aquarium for failing to meet federal animal welfare standards. During an inspection on 20th July 2022, USDA agents found rabbits kept in areas that were above the acceptable heat level and baby kangaroos housed in a potentially unsafe office. Inspectors found that the temperatures within the facility rose to 89 degrees due to an HVAC system failure.
Although legally owned by Crystal Covino, the animal rights organisation PETA has alleged that her husband, convicted wildlife trafficker Ammon Covino, is running the San Antonio Aquarium. He was convicted of conspiring to illegally transport spotted eagle rays out of Key West in 2013 and is barred from operating a zoological facility. Michelle Sinnott, PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement, said, “In any facility this convicted wildlife trafficker has a hand in, animals are at serious risk of suffering from extreme temperatures, injury, and other abuse. PETA is calling on everyone to shun this shady petting zoo and for the USDA to revoke the license of any facility associated with Ammon Covino.” PETA’s investigation into another aquarium in Austin also revealed an employee’s reported attempt to crush a rat to death with a cinderblock, a large number of snakes gone missing, 27 separate incidents in which lemurs bit members of the public, including children or staff, and other problems. Public aquaria are just simply aquatic zoos that keep animals in captivity who belong to the wild. Whether we are talking about a big aquarium of the Sea Life franchise or a small roadside aquarium, neither can provide the minimum conditions wild animals require, and they all should be closed down. This is why vegans do not support them.