The seahorses were sleeping, tails wrapped around branches, lights dimmed. Beneath them glowed a sign:
Buy crafts made in our giftshop, made by Filipino seahorse fishers and their families. You’ll help the families earn a living without having to catch sea horses.
Where did the Shedd aquarium get their seahorses? I would guess they bought them or their progenitors from those Filipino fishers they’re so valiantly trying to wean off of capturing and selling seahorses.
But what really irks me is the fact the aquarium is encouraging its patrons to spend money in their gift shop as a solution to helping the endangered seahorses.
I’ve spent over a month of my life under the ocean’s surface and, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the ocean is big. There’s lots of room to swim around. In the museum’s aquariums there isn’t. Whether with zoos or aquariums, I’ve always validated their existence as a place for the average Joe to go and see why we need to protect our world and the creatures with which we share it. The seahorses in the aquarium sacrifice their freedom for the protection of their free-swimming brethren, as does the lion pacing the cage for those hunting on the open savanna.
Zoos and aquariums have the responsibility to educate and conserve, not feed us lines of bullshit that by spending $29.99 on a basket we’re saving the world.
I’ve never seen a seahorse underwater, and I hope someday I will. If I do, I’m pretty sure it will not be a result of deplorable, self-promoting propaganda like this…