The Seaside Aquarium in Seaside, Oregon, stands around 100 yards from the Pacific Ocean. The sounds of the waves echo against its facade and visitors come and go with sand on their feet. But that short 300-foot walk to the sea might as well be 1,000 miles for the 11 harbor seals the aquarium holds captive.
One of Seaside Aquariums biggest draws are these helpless seals that live in a small pool-like enclosure, perhaps 8X5 feet and no deeper than 2.5 feet. Customers can have the “pleasure” of seeing them in their miserable tank and for a small fee you can buy a tray of fish and feed them. The poor seals clap and howl competing for the few bits of fish between the 11 of them. According to one aquarium worker, during the summer this is their main source of food.
This is not the way it should be for these beautiful marine mammals or the several other animals that unfortunately call the aquarium home. Seals for one, are extremely intelligent social beings that need stimulation to live a healthy, normal life. In the wild, these animals have the whole of the ocean to call their home but at Seaside they barely have a pool, and a shallow one at that.
Seaside aquarium defends their facilities saying that they are governed by USDA standards. But these rules are clearly minimum standards, and even if they aren’t breaking our laws, they are breaking the rules of nature by forcing the seals to live in captivity for their entire lives.
It’s time Seaside recognized that it is not OK to imprison marine mammals and use them as tourist traps to line their pockets. Please sign the petition and ask Seaside Aquarium officials to give the seals to a sanctuary where they can live the rest of their life in peace.