Miami-Dade County officials have announced that they are moving to revoke the lease of Miami Seaquarium, the infamous aquarium in Florida, US, which has been the centre of many animal welfare complaints. This announcement comes after weekly protests by local activists as well as campaigns by animal rights organisations such as PETA that included lawsuits and celebrity ads.

The Seaquarium recently received a Notice of Intent to Confiscate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding four marine mammals currently housed there — marking the first time the agency has taken such an action in 30 years. According to reports, county officials will work with the USDA to “chart the most appropriate course forward, always prioritizing the best interests of the animals” remaining at the marine park.

PETA is asking its supporters to send a polite e-mail to Mayor Daniella Levine Cava at mayor@miamidade.gov to thank her for taking this important step and ask her to make sure the Miami Seaquarium is shut down immediately.

On 18th August 2023, Tokitae the orca (also known as Lolita) died due to a suspected renal condition in the world’s smallest orca tank at the Miami Seaquarium, proving that the plans to move her to a seaside sanctuary came too late. In the weeks before her death, veterinarians reported she was experiencing “abdominal/stomach discomfort,” although she was in relatively stable condition.

In December 2023, Romeo and Juliet, two manatees that have been kept in captivity in small tanks in the Miami Seaquarium since 1956, were moved to ZooTampa after animal rights organisations protested about the conditions they were kept. A third manatee, an adult female named Clarity, was also moved to SeaWorld in Orlando after living at Miami Seaquarium since 2009.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.