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Austin Aquarium in Austin, Texas, is a greedy strip-mall aquarium and petting zoo that exposes sensitive wild animals to the constant onslaught of human hands in order to make money. Lemurs, kinkajous, sloths, and capybaras naturally avoid humans, but this sleazy aquarium sells paid “encounters” with them, placing both them and the public at risk of injury and disease. Prioritizing commercial gain over animals’ basic needs is a form of speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.
A PETA undercover investigation revealed how little regard Austin Aquarium has for the animals kept at the ramshackle facility. A lemur reportedly became tangled up in a balloon string and hanged to death. A manager refused to take a dying iguana named Igor (pictured above) to a veterinarian to be euthanized, stating that he was “just” a reptile. Instead, he was left to die in a cage outside (pictured below). It took three days.
PETA’s investigation also shows how little the strip-mall aquarium seems to care about the safety of employees and guests. Over the course of four months, PETA’s investigator documented that animals bit 12 visitors, including children, and at least 11 staffers. Flouting state reporting requirements, staff told the investigator never to document an attack. They also told our investigator that venomous vine snakes “go missing all the time.”
Since the investigation, several businesses, including 10 travel sites, blogs, media outlets, and local businesses, have compassionately chosen to leave this mall aquarium behind.
But others are still callously promoting the facility and disregarding the animals’ suffering and the risks to public safety. Please urge the remaining promoters to reconsider their relationship with Austin Aquarium moving forward.