Public opposition against a SeaWorld-branded aquatic theme park in Dubai has escalated in recent months, with a petition swelling to more than 32,000 signatures at the time of publication.
US company SeaWorld Entertainment announced plans last May to “assess the viability of a multi-park development in the Middle East”.
Although it has made no further announcement since then, members of the public have slammed the proposals, saying they represent an attack on animal rights.
An online petition on the Government of Dubai to axe the plans has 32,738 signatures at the time of publication – an increase of more than 20,000 since April.
The petition states: “Dubai has a great reputation as a popular tourist destination for beautiful architecture, beautiful nature and kind hearted people, thus you should not tarnish your great reputation by allowing SeaWorld to open a SeaWorld park in Dubai.
“SeaWorld is already one of the worst cases of wild animal abuse in the history of the United States and SeaWorld should not be allowed to exist in Dubai as well.
“SeaWorld is absolutely barbaric in terms of what they are doing to these poor marine animals they have in captivity at their theme parks.
“In the wild, killer whales are the king of the ocean and they swim 100 miles per day. In confinement, they are living in a tiny swimming pool that is the equivalent to a human living in a bathtub.
“They feed the whales and dolphins drugged fish to keep them docile and brain dead and they starve them as a tool to force them to perform tricks…”
Care2, the lobby group behind the petition, reportedly told Gulf News that almost 10% of the signatories claim to be from the UAE.
“There are 2,803 signatures from the UAE specifically, and it has obviously gotten a lot of attention from the international community as well,” a spokeswoman was quoted as saying.
“We have seen some great success with petitions like this influencing governments and private companies to scrap plans that are bad for animals or bad for the environment.”
She added: “I think if this petition is able to keep pushing for more signatures there is a very real chance that the outrage expressed could convince them not to go ahead with the park.” Arabian Business