Seal languishing at Miami Seaquarium.

Paul Wesley, Kelly Slater Call on Miami Seaquarium to Release Animals to Sanctuary



In an open letter to Miami Seaquarium, celebrities urge the venue to close and release its captive animals to sanctuary.

Paul Wesley, Kelly Slater, and Mýa are among a host of celebrities who are lending their voices to help the animals currently suffering at the dilapidated and cruel Miami Seaquarium. 

After Miami-Dade County terminated Miami Seaquarium’s lease due to multiple animal welfare violations, the CEO of The Dolphin Company, Eduardo Albor, vowed to fight the eviction in court.

World Animal Protection US, which has been campaigning against Miami Seaquarium since 2019, released an open letter today signed by celebrities urging the CEO of The Dolphin Company to work with Miami-Dade County and animal advocacy groups to release the animals currently suffering at its venues to sanctuaries, or where sanctuaries do not exist, to reputable facilities that do not force animals to perform or interact with visitors.

The open letter comes just one day after the death of Bud the sea lion was announced. 

Among the celebrities joining the fight to close Miami Sequarium’s doors include The Vampire Diaries’ Paul Wesley, professional surfer Kelly Slater, Dynasty’s Elaine Hendrix, The Traitors’ Alan Cumming, singer/songwriter Mýa, Abbot Elementary’s Lisa Ann Walter, Never Have I Ever’s Richa Moorjani, and model and entrepreneur Nicole Williams English, all longtime animal advocates. The celebrities signed World Animal Protection’s open letter urging Eduardo Albor, the CEO of The Dolphin Company, to “do the right thing” for the animals at the Miami-Dade facility. 

The letter, in part, reads:

In a scathing letter, Mayor Levine Cava let the Seaquarium know that she is terminating its lease, forcing the venue to vacate its property as of April 21. The mayor specifically cited the Seaquarium’s multitude of USDA animal welfare violations as one of the reasons for her decision.

We applaud Mayor Levine Cava for this truly courageous act, standing up to one of America’s most notorious marine parks and standing up for the animals who so desperately need help.

Now it is time for you, Mr. Albor, to do the right thing. 

You have the power and the ethical responsibility to close Miami Seaquarium for good and to ensure the animals suffering within its walls and tanks are released to sanctuaries, or where sanctuaries do not currently exist, to reputable facilities that do not force animals to perform or interact with visitors.

For Sundance, Sushi, and Tokitae, it is too late. But you still have the chance to make sure not one more animal suffers under your watch.

In a statement, Lindsay Oliver, World Animal Protection US’s Executive Director, was grateful for the celebrities who have lent their voices to help the animals suffering at Miami Seaquarium:

“All of us at World Animal Protection extend our deepest appreciation to the compassionate celebrities who have lent their voices to our crucial call to end nearly 70 years of abhorrent animal cruelty at Miami Seaquarium.

The Dolphin Company has the power and ethical responsibility to grant the animals currently suffering at the Seaquarium the chance to live out the rest of their lives free from exploitation. Miami-Dade County’s bold stance sets a precedent for all exploitative wildlife venues to close their doors for good.”

Miami-Dade County terminated Miami Seaquarium’s lease on Thursday, March 7, 2024, after multiple inspections by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found repeated animal welfare violations.

Miami Seaquarium, which leases its campus from the county and is owned by The Dolphin Company, must surrender its waterfront property by April 21, 2024. According to a letter from Jimmy Morales, Chief Operating Officer under Miami-Dade Mayor Levine Cava: 

“Lessee’s long and troubling history of violations constitute repeated, continuing longstanding violations of Lessee’s contractual obligations to keep the property in a good state of repair, maintain animals in accordance with applicable law, and comply with all laws.”

The letter goes on to state that Miami Seaquarium has been cited by the USDA seven times for failing to maintain facilities, seven times related to inadequate veterinary care, two times for inadequate handling of animals, three times for failure to maintain outdoor facilities, three times for failing to have adequate staff, two times for failure to maintain indoor facilities, and three times for inadequate water quality.

In March, World Animal Protection US urged Miami-Dade County to file animal cruelty charges against Miami Seaquarium. Under Florida’s animal cruelty statutes (§828.073), neglected and mistreated animals can be confiscated by the state.

After years of scathing USDA inspection reports, undercover accounts, and employee whistleblowers made it clear that Miami Seaquarium is unable to care for the animals at its dilapidated facility, the animals need to be confiscated by the government or relinquished by The Dolphin Company.

You can join Paul Wesley, Kelly Slater, Mýa, Lisa Ann Walter, Alan Cumming, Nicole Williams English, Elaine Hendrix, and Richa Moorjani in urging Eduardo Albor to shutter Miami Seaquarium’s doors today.

Email the CEO of The Dolphin Company now!

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