For Instant Launch:
July 21, 2022
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Austin, Texas – A new PETA eyewitness investigation into the Austin Aquarium, an indoor petting zoo and strip mall aquarium that sells “encounters” with wild animals, reveals burdened otters and lemurs languishing in barren enclosures, employees discussing killing an animal with a rock, and animals left to endure with out veterinary care, together with an ailing iguana who was denied veterinary care as a result of he was “simply” a reptile. The iguana, named Igor, was put outdoors in a cage with no warmth lamp whereas employees waited for him to die—which took three days. PETA’s video footage reveals employees shedding a lot of snakes, employees joking about letting a whole bunch of lizards free outdoors, and animals routinely biting and injuring employees and friends—after which facility employees coated up a number of incidents. Images are obtainable right here, and broadcast-quality footage is obtainable right here.
PETA has submitted proof of obvious cruelty to animals, disregard for employee security, wildlife abandonment, and different failings to the Metropolis of Austin Animal Safety workplace, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Division, the Occupational Security and Well being Administration , and the U.S. Division of Agriculture (USDA). PETA is in search of investigations into obvious violations of animal safety, employee security, and wildlife legal guidelines—and the revocation of the aquarium’s federal license to exhibit regulated animals.
“The Austin Aquarium is a home of horrors, the place animals are deserted to die, endure in barren enclosures, and chunk employees and guests out of frustration,” says PETA Basis Affiliate Director of Captive Animal Legislation Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA is looking on the authorities to crack down on this shady operation and urging everybody to remain a mile away.”
PETA’s investigator additionally discovered that Ammon Covino, who’s prohibited from holding a USDA exhibitor’s license on account of a previous wildlife trafficking conviction, is directing day-to-day operations on the facility—fairly than his spouse, the operation’s registered licensee. Based on staff, when Covino thought the aquarium had “too many” anole lizards, employees have been instructed to desert a whole bunch of them inside and outdoors the constructing. One employee described utilizing a big rock to kill a lizard who was dying. A blue iguana was denied veterinary look after a suspected damaged leg as a result of the Covinos reportedly deemed an X-ray “too costly,” though employees estimated that the ability was bringing in roughly $60,000 per day on the time. Employees additionally stated that venomous vine snakes “go lacking on a regular basis” and that dozens had escaped since March.
PETA’s investigator documented greater than 20 current incidents through which employees have been bitten by lemurs, kinkajous, and otters. To forestall the bites from being reported to authorities, employees admitted that they lie when in search of medical consideration, as an illustration claiming to have been bitten by a stray cat. A supervisor said that Covino eradicated legal responsibility waivers as a result of they slowed down the enterprise, and PETA’s investigator was instructed to not doc incidents of animals’ biting the general public—which, in accordance with a supervisor, occurs “in all probability … as soon as every week.” When a lemur began usually leaping at and grabbing friends, the aquarium merely shortened the length of the encounters. And in accordance with a employee, after a baby with a cochlear implant was bitten by a lemur, Covino instructed employees, “No extra retarded children in lemurs, for f**** sake.”
PETA—whose motto reads, partially, that “animals should not ours to make use of for leisure”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For extra details about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please go to PETA.org or comply with the group on Twitter, Fb, or Instagram.