John Walker, Senior Manager of the Georgia Aquarium, discusses how “[a]n opinion piece by Dan Mathews [senior VP of PETA, in the Nov.-Dec. 2013 issue] gave a distorted and inaccurate portrayal of a recent event at Georgia Aquarium and made inappropriate accusations based more on his detractor opinion than fact,” in Correspondence: Aquarium Contest Cruelty Charge.
The main charge being discussed is volume control, and how the animals are being affected because of the high pitched volumes that are used inside of the aquarium. The event in which a high amount of volume was observed was in “the kickoff party for Atlanta’s Gay Pride weekend” which took place at the aquarium. Mathew claims that the music was so loud “that it was nearly impossible to talk with others due to the volume of the music.” However, Walker disagrees with these claims against the aquarium, reassuring the public that the aquarium has “a staff of dedicated and accomplished marine biologists, scientists and experts in the care of animals.” Walker states that because of differentiating and biased opinions sometimes false claims are made.
Georgia Aquarium tries its best to make sure that all of their animals are properly cared for, and it bases the sound levels of the volume in the aquarium based on research that they have. “The Aquarium aggressively protects animals from any sound that exceeds these limits.” When special parties or events take place, the volume levels are carefully monitored to make sure that the animals are being treating as they should be. “Revenues from all special events and ticket sales generated from non-event related visits support the Aquarium’s not-for-profit mission of conservation, education and research of aquatic animals.”
At the end of the article commentary from Matthews is included. He explains that the aquarium does follow the rules the USDA sets because it is necessary for it to be open for business, but he says that “[i]f the aquarium were committed to conservation instead of profit, they would not market themselves as a venue for parties where the animals are used for decorations exclusively.” Matthews ends his statement by claiming that the aquarium’s “[t]heir disregard for conservation and the best interest of animals is what led NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] to deny their permit request to import eighteen wild-caught beluga whales from Russia to boost aquarium displays.”
This articles is very helpful for people in learning more about the treatment the Georgia Aquarium gives its animals, and it is also helpful for people looking for an unbiased opinion on animal treatment. What makes the animal unbiased is that is like an ongoing conversation in which both sides use facts to state their opinions. Both sides have strong beliefs and do their best to make sure the public understands them.