The Wisconsin State Fair has scheduled Sea Lion Splash, a traveling sea lion circus, to perform several shows every day at the fair in August! To date, there has been no confirmation from the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) department that Sea Lion Splash has an exhibitor’s license. Licensees are required to meet the minimal standards of the Animal Welfare Act.
The founder, Marco Peters, crams together a few sea lions in one shallow tank, who are forced to live in an unnatural environment while on the road in the name of “family” fun. The tank is not deep enough to stimulate natural swimming behaviors and provide a thriving behavioral enrichment environment.
Californian Sea Lions are classified as ’hazardous’, suggesting that they have the ability to seriously injure a person. (Taronga Zoo, 2005). Sea lions are smart and mobile on land. A sea lion can easily move across the stage and bite somebody. A family photo with the sea lions is not a safe environment for families.
Studies have shown that sea lions are poor thermoregulators and cannot regulate their body temperature on extremely warm days. To cool off they must enter the sea and immerse themselves several times a day (Whitlow et al, 1971). Sea lions remain closer to the shoreline and cool off in the ocean. They are generally found in sheltered, quiet bays, as well as on rocky isolated islands and just off sea coasts. (Walker et al, 1975). Sea lions tend not to go further than 16km out to sea (King 1983). However, the California coast is approximately 1,678 miles away from Wisconsin.
The founder, Marco Peters, boasts about his experience working with Ringling Brothers. This is nothing to boast about. Ringling Bros has been cited for numerous violations against the Animal Welfare Act, including, improper handling of dangerous animals and for failing to provide animals with veterinary care.
Sea Lion Splash is a cruel way to provide family summer fun. Taking wildlife out of their natural environment to perform tricks and for photos does not teach the public about how a sea lion lives naturally. Lessons about marine life and conservation can be taught at home or in a class room. It is not necessary to ship sea lions like cargo in a truck. Please cancel this cruel show.
Join the Alliance for Animals and the Environment in calling on the Wisconsin State Fair Board to cancel this cruel performance. Please sign this petition and share it with others.
For further information regarding the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board, please contact Marian Santiago-Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.