The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) asked the Department of Tourism on Monday to reconsider its endorsement of the Manila Ocean Park.
PETA maintained that marine parks present a distorted view of wildlife.
It also urged the public to boycott the facility to show their objection to keeping sea animals in captivity.
In a letter to Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano, PETA-Asia Pacific campaigns manager Rochelle Regodon said the only thing marine parks taught people was that “it is acceptable to keep animals in captivity -- bored, restricted, lonely and far from their natural homes.”
“The marine park industry claims that it exists purely for conservation and educational purposes. However, we must ask this question, ‘What can be gained from watching marine animals swim in endless circles in concrete tanks full of chlorinated water?’” she told Durano in her letter, a copy of which she provided the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
PETA has come out with a poster opposing the oceanarium. It features a group of fish with the messages, “Save Our Schools,” “Don’t support aquariums” and “Teach compassion without confinement.”
“We are opposed to keeping animals in captivity because of the suffering it causes them. Life in a tank is literally a death sentence,” another PETA campaigner, Jennilyn Tagasa, told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
“The park can never replicate these animals’ natural habitats. Marine animals are meant to swim freely. At the park, they are confined to areas much smaller than their natural environments and are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them,” Regodon said.
The P1-billion Manila Ocean Park, behind the Quirino Granstand at Rizal Park, is a project of the Philippine Tourism Authority with Singaporean and Malaysian investors. It is scheduled to open at the end of the month.
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