Merlin, whose wild-caught whales perform in daily circus shows, is given environmental award

It was announced in press yesterday that Merlin, the parent company of SEA LIFE aquariums, had been given an award for its “Community and Environmental Action” by a group of private investment companies. The move came as a surprise to campaigners, as the company has recently been exposed for the cruel exploitation of wild-caught beluga whales in its Shanghai centre. Director of Freedom for Animals, Liz Tyson, said:

“Those that have followed our recently-launched SEA LIES campaign might be surprised to hear that this commercial company, which takes animals from their natural habitat to stock its tanks and promotes degrading circus shows with wild-caught marine mammals, has been recognised for its environmental work. We certainly were. Despite numerous requests, Merlin has failed to confirm just how many of the animals held captive in its SEA LIFE aquariums have been stolen from their wild homes, or how it uses its multi-million pound income to support conservation efforts”.

Freedom for Animals have contacted the judging panel for the awards in order to understand the criteria against which the company was assessed.

The CEO of Merlin was also named “CEO of the Year” for the South West by the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA).

Ms Tyson added:

“We don’t dispute that Merlin is a successful business. Indeed, it announced increased profits just yesterday. Sadly, from the information that we have gathered and the responses we have received from the company itself to concerns raised it seems clear that profits come before the animals”.

The SEA LIES campaign has been running for one month and has garnered support from around the world. A petition calling upon Merlin to end its use of cetaceans in shows has now exceeded 5,000 signatures and Freedom for Animals is in talks with a number of different parties in order to develop plans to take the campaign forward.

Those concerned about Merlin’s animal exploitation are encouraged to sign and share the petition below:


  • We'd love to keep you posted with latest information on this issue and share materials and activities. We'll never sell or swap your details with anybody else. You are free to change your mind at anytime. Please indicate how you would like to hear from us by using the tick boxes below.
  • We demand that SEA LIFE ends its exploitation of captive cetaceans and guarantees their safe retirement [Read More]
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *