Recently I went to Toronto for the day, I hadn’t been in many years, so I wanted to do something memorable when I was there. I had wanted to go to the CN Tower, but the day I was there it was very overcast, so it would have been a waste of $50 to go up and not see very far out. On a clear day, they claim from the top you can see 100 miles in all directions. I’d have seen nothing but clouds had I gone up on such an overcast day.
I’d read about this aquarium online and a few people I chat with had been there and said they liked it, but I had my reservations. I am a very anti zoo, anti Sea World type of person, very much an animal lover, but I somehow convinced myself these were not whales, they were not being forced to do tricks for human entertainment, so it would be ok and not bad. I’d even read about some protests in the past by animal activists at the aquarium and brushed them off as extremists. I am sad to say my reservations were correct. I wish I had not gone and I am ashamed I supported this aquarium in any way by going there.
The thing that I noticed immediately was how small the tanks are most of these poor creatures are held in, some it’s unbelievably cruel how small they are. The lighting is also very low, perhaps to conceal this fact even more. I have taken lots of pics I am uploading here for ones to see, though you cannot accurately judge from these pics how small some of these tanks are. The sad fact is these animals have been kidnapped from their natural environment and placed in a jail of sorts and put on display for money for the rest of their miserable and unnatural lives. Animals, even fish, should not be kept in captivity for the entertainment of anyone. It is wrong. If an animal needs rehabilitation and then cannot be released into the wild, of course there should be sanctuaries for them, but that is totally different than a zoo or an aquarium.
If you have not seen the documentary “BlackFish“, it is a very sad film about what goes on at Sea World parks with killer whales. I highly recommend you find that online and watch it so you can to further educate yourself. I’ve known Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario has also had many allegations against them. I would not support such attractions. I have been to Sea World, Orlando, in my teens, but I did not understand the hardships these animals were enduring when I was that age. There was no internet then, information was just not as easily available then, so you just didn’t give such things a lot of thought. I would never go now as an adult.
The people that visit an aquarium are only there for a couple of hours. Someone told me it would take two hours, but I was through it in forty five minutes and saw everything and as you can see, took pics of nearly every single tank there, but the lighting was very low, and a few you couldn’t use a flash, like the poor giant octopus. It didn’t even move, it could have been dead for all I know. It laid there listless on a rock in a very small tank. How it even had the will to live being kept in such a small tank and nothing to stimulate it, hunt for, look forward to, I do not know. I was nearly in tears seeing the small tanks these animals that would normally in the oceans or lakes they would live in, they would travel hundreds or even thousands of miles and are now relegated to living in a tank not large enough for a toddler to swim in. There were a few large tanks, but still too small for sharks and Manta Rays.
I am sure they are given food, medical care, the water kept at the right temperature, etc, but they have no freedom at all. They spend more than three quarters of their lives when the aquarium is open with people tapping and knocking on the glass, flashes going off non stop, over crowded with other animals, all for the all mighty dollar. I’m not sure what I expected, as I said I did have concerns and was not sure if I wanted to support such a place. I do wish I had not gone and I really hope if you are thinking of going there you will not either. Watch a documentary online with beautiful photography of these animals shot in their natural environment where they are happy and free and living as nature intended, not in some cramped tank, no doubt very unhappy at what happened to them. All animals there once had a normal life, swimming around in an ocean or lake, then were snatched away from their fish family and put on display. Please do not support such a venture. If enough people boycott attractions like this, they will cease to exist due to lack of demand.
If you think, “It’s only a fish.” They have as much right to be on this earth living their lives as any of us. They have thoughts, they likely have feelings, whales and dolphins are extremely intelligent and social animals and they’ve acted out in violence in those parks due to enormous frustration at their living conditions, you cannot blame them. Ones that say places like aquariums and zoos are good for “educational purposes,” again, watch a well shot documentary where the animals were not disrupted or harmed in any way and you will get better looks at them and know they have not had a ruined life by being held captive.