April 2014

In the second half of 2013, UK-based animal protection charity, Freedom for Animals, commissioned a detailed investigation into the operation of the UK’s largest chain of aquariums, Sea Life; a brand owned by the global company, Merlin Entertainments. The results of this investigation were published in spring 2014 in the form of a summary report, Sea Lies, and detailed analysis document, An investigation into the UK’s largest public aquarium chain. The findings of the Sea Lies investigation were publicised with the creation of a new website: www.sea-lies.org.uk.

The recent investigation follows a similar project carried out by Freedom for Animals ten years previously which culminated in the production of the summary report, Suffering Deep Down, in addition to the full study report entitled ‘Aquatic Zoos: A critical study of UK public aquaria‘. The 2004 study considered a number of different aquariums, not just those operated by Merlin under the Sea Life brand.

As it stands, aquatic animals (perhaps with the exception of cetaceans) held captive in zoos and aquariums are largely overlooked in wider campaigns on the zoo industry. We hope that, by making this information widely available to the public, we will trigger an interest and concern for these oft-forgotten animals who, we believe, are as deserving of our concern as any other sentient individual.