PETA vs Animal Conservation

Written By:Kristy Lussier

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Two kids feed the fish at SeaQuest Aquarium

PETA vs. Animal Conservation


PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is an animal rights organization known for its passionate advocacy against animals under human care. However, it has faced criticism for making false or misleading claims about many aquariums and zoos, including SeaQuest. While PETA has shed light on some genuine issues, some of its campaigns have been criticized for using emotional manipulation and presenting incomplete or distorted information to advance their cause. While addressing concerns about animal welfare is essential, it is equally important to recognize the contributions to conservation efforts and the overall well-being of endangered species at institutions like SeaQuest and other reputable aquariums and zoos.


Conservation of Endangered Species: Axolotls 

One of the most significant contributions of aquariums and zoos is their role in conserving endangered species. Many animals face a harsh reality in the wild with the threat of extinction due to habitat loss, poaching, and climate change.  Consider the axolotl, a unique and critically endangered species of salamander native to the waters of Mexico. Zoos & aquariums, with their controlled environments and scientific expertise, have allowed them to breed and thrive in a controlled environment. In the last five years alone, SeaQuest bred over 1,000 of these amphibians to help conservation efforts. By implementing carefully designed breeding programs, zoos can help repopulate various endangered species, protecting them from extinction while providing educational experiences for people to grow more awareness and empathy towards other species on this planet.


PETA vs. SeaQuest: The Case of Baby Otters


No doubt, otters charm visitors with their playful and social personalities. But it’s not just about providing entertainment for humans at SeaQuest. We dedicate time and effort to creating environments that mimic the natural habitats of these mammals, ensuring their physical and mental well-being. Providing enrichment activities, enclosures with aquatic features, and proper veterinary care improves otters’ lives significantly compared to the risks, diseases, and predators that come with being born in the wild. Otters are actually at risk of being an endangered species in the wild. In one of PETA’s misleading articles, they claimed that we here at SeaQuest were illegally breeding otters for our profit and pointed out that according to our state permits, our facility was not allowed to have more than two otters at our location. This was a misunderstanding, as we were unknowingly sold a pregnant otter from another facility.

Due to the misunderstanding and whistle-blowing by PETA, local regulators offered SeaQuest two choices: either pay a fine and expand the number of otters our permit would allow at the facility or terminate the pregnancy. Of course, we welcomed four new adorable baby otters to our SeaQuest family despite the extra costs. One of SeaQuest’s main goals is to educate the public about otters and their importance in ecosystems. We hope by raising awareness about the challenges animals face in the wild, we can foster greater empathy and support for their conservation. 

Exotic Bird Rescue and Rehabilitation Efforts


Exotic birds, such as parrots and macaws, are victims of illegal wildlife trade and habitat destruction. PETA overlooks zoos’ vital role in rescuing and rehabilitating these injured, abandoned, or orphaned animals. Many parrots enter the pet trade, and inexperienced owners quickly realize they do not have the bandwidth to deal with such an intelligent creature. Many are doomed to suffer a boring life in a small cage, where they develop psychological and physical trauma due to boredom, loneliness, and improper care. Zoos work to increase their quality of life by providing a safe and more natural environment for them to recover. At SeaQuest, we have rescued many parrots from irresponsible situations with the pet trade and are provided plenty of room, enrichment, proper nutrition, and social interaction. Without zoos’ intervention, many of these avians would not stand a chance of survival or live a miserable life in a small cage. 

Despite PETA’s negative portrayal of zoos and aquariums, institutions like SeaQuest play a crucial role in preserving endangered species, promoting animal welfare, and educating the public. They invest in creating environments that benefit animals’ physical and mental well-being. Industries like SeaQuest collaborate with non-profits, rescues, and universities, such as Weber State, to fund conservation trips to places like Hawaii, furthering their efforts in conservation and preservation. We want people to come to SeaQuest and bond with animals in ways not typically allowed by most zoos and aquariums because through our interactions, our animals get to live enriched lives while enriching the lives of the people they fascinate, to develop more empathy and compassion for the world’s many living beings and the environment.

SeaQuest is committed to protecting our world’s oceans and endangered animals. We focus on how to be proactive in finding solutions. To learn more about how you can help SeaQuest with this cause, book your visit today at any of the following locations: Utah, Las Vegas, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Sacramento, Minneapolis, Lynchburg, and New Jersey.

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