Animal Welfare

Aquariums: Educational or Abusive?

Note from Rachel: I am happy to say that this is the first Guest Post from Valentina, who blogs over at, so definitely check out her site! I hope my readers enjoy this post, and I hope to receive more articles from Valentina in the future!

Orcas, by: Ken /  Used under a Creative Commons license.

Orcas, by: Ken / Used under a Creative Commons license.

When you think of the word aquarium, you might think of happy family outings, a magnificent-to-watch show of colorful fish, and an educational event. But have you ever thought of what it’s like on the other side of the glass? Often times, marine life undergoes stress, physical discomfort, and even being torn away from their families to bring you this experience. So the question concerned animal rights activists are asking is: Is it worth it? Absolutely not! Think about the issue rationally. Your fun time is not worth a life of suffering.

If you need an idea of how bad the crisis really is, allow me to enlighten you. For one thing, how do you think aquariums get their animals in the first place? Often times, they tear families apart to get a young specimen. This process is heart-wrenching. Then, you have the tanks. Oh, the tanks. Face it, animals who are used to swimming miles and miles every day simply cannot function properly in a concrete cage. Orcas, for example, have been known to commit suicide by refusing to breathe or banging their head against the glass because of these outrageous conditions.

Regardless of how the marine life is treated, keeping animals in captivity is, quite frankly, slavery. Keeping these intelligent creatures locked up for our own profit is a violation of their right to live without being exploited. Creative Commons. Creative Commons.

Besides, is the aquarium really that educational in the first place? New studies suggest not. Researchers from unbiased third parties found that there is no significant proof that human visitors walk away from aquariums smarter.

So if aquariums shut down, where will all the animals go? Surely not to the ocean – most marine life becomes adjusted to feedings very quickly, especially if born in captivity, and may not be able to capture food and therefore thrive in the wild. This is a valid concern which can be easily remedied by transporting the animals to sanctuaries, where they can live without being abused.

There are several ways you can help suffering animals in aquariums, the simplest of which is to just stop visiting them. Without money from visitors, aquariums can’t function. Also, urge your local aquariums to improve their conditions (immediately asking them to demolish their business rarely works). If they hear complaints from enough citizens, chances are they will change their ways. Together, we can create a better world for marine life. Will you join the fight?

Orca in Pugent Sound. By: Miles Ritter. Creative Commons.

Orca in Pugent Sound. By: Miles Ritter. Creative Commons.

Bio: Valentina is an animal rights activist. She loves petting her rescue dog, volunteering at her local animal shelter, and eating vegan pizza.

5 replies »

  1. I can’t thank you enough for publishing my post. I’m eternally grateful for all your support! If you ever want another article, just contact me and I would be happy to write one. Thanks again for making my year!


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