The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has issued the following statement in response to the inclusion of SeaWorld San Antonio on World Animal Protection's report regarding animal interactions at zoos and aquariums.
• SeaWorld San Antonio, like all AZA accredited members, must meet or exceed AZA’s gold standard accreditation requirements. This puts them among the best performing aquariums and zoos worldwide, assuring that the care and well-being of the animals always comes first.
• WAZA does not have accreditation standards, and is not an accrediting body. It relies on associations, like AZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) and the Zoological Association of Australia (ZAA) to provide accreditations.
• Accredited facilities, like SeaWorld San Antonio, hold themselves to high standards and are still only a fraction of facilities that hold and display animals.
• Professionally designed and monitored animal ambassador and encounter programs, including “swim with” programs, have proven educational benefits and inspire guests to respect animals and support their conservation.
• Restricting these activities ultimately limits opportunity for an increasingly nature-disconnected public to experience animals, creating connections, and inspiring them to respect, value and work to conserve wild life and wild places.
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