Sea lion act not entertainment
Your piece about this year's Clay County Fair (Free fun at the fair, 7/19) neglects to mention Sea Lion Splash's appalling history of animal welfare violations. Just two months ago the Department of Agriculture cited Sea Lion Splash for a slew of violations, including failing to provide adequate veterinary care to all five of the sea lions it trucks around the country. Three of these animals were suffering serious, painful eye conditions, likely as a result of the fact that Sea Lion Splash was also denying the animals access to shade and salt water.
Even when the animals aren't being dragged from city to city and forced to perform they suffer. According to a former Sea Lion Splash employee, the animals are routinely struck with poles and pipes during training sessions.
And it's not just the sea lions who are put at risk--sea lions can carry a number of diseases that are transmissible to humans, and Sea Lion Splash has been cited for failing to monitor for infections, even as it allows the public to interact directly with the animals. Sea Lion Splash has also been cited failing to adequately supervise sea lions--who have razor-sharp teeth--and allowing them to get dangerously close to the public.
Anyone who cares about animal welfare, or public health and safety should steer clear of the sea lion exhibit at the Clay Country Fair.