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PETA opposes new attraction Manila Ocean Park

May 28, 2008 11:03am
MANILA, Philippines - Animal rights advocate People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia-Pacific (PETA) on Wednesday voiced opposition against the country's latest tourist attraction, the Manila Ocean Park, for showcasing the different species of the marine life in "giant aquariums."

In a statement, PETA said the Manila Ocean Park took 300 species of fish from their natural homes and placed them in tanks inside a hotel, a restaurant, and various other attractions - depriving the fishes from their natural habitat and their freedom.

"The Manila Ocean Park has captured these fish and thrown them in jail with no chance of ever being freed," PETA Director Jason Baker said.

PETA criticized marine parks as "presenting a distorted view of wildlife and teaching people that capturing wildlife animals is acceptable" and would only contribute to the destruction of the ecosystem.

The group said that in Japan, officials of the Tokyo Sea Life Park had reported that their blue fin and yellow fin tuna had developed deformed faces after experiencing stress while swimming inside the aquarium.

Operators of the Manila Ocean Park earlier said the marine park plays a crucial role in educating the public about the marine life, and the importance of preserving it for future generations.

In the statement, however, Baker frowned upon the "educational value" of the marine park. "Aquarium teaches us more about human greed and thoughtlessness than they do about fish and their habitats," Baker said.

In the statement, PETA said scientific studies proved that fish are intelligent animals that can experience stress and pain. It also cited findings by University of Edinburgh fisheries biologist Dr. Culum Brown which indicate that the fish's brain powers can "match or exceed those of higher vertebrates including nonhuman primates."

The group is scheduled to hold a protest rally in front of the Manila Ocean Park on Thursday noon wearing a giant fish costume and a sign that reads "Save our Schools: Boycott Aquariums." - Jane Dumaug, GMANews.TV
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