Killer whales not planned for Dubai's Masra Al Arab $1.7bn project

PETA urges company to focus on plans to build an "amazing water park, without having animals suffering as part of it"

A picture of Orcas shown in the video of $1.7 billion Masra Al Arab are for “illustration purposes only”, Dubai Holding has said.

This week, the company announced plans of a four million square feet mega project to be developed on two new islands on both sides of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. It said the project will include a “Marine Park”, a first-of-its-kind marine life edutainment centre in the Middle East, having a live theatre of a 1,000 seat capacity that would attract world-class shows to showcase various elements of marine life.

While animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Asia, urged the developer to build a “world-class water park without causing any animal suffering”, Dubai Holding in a statement to Arabian Business said: “The visuals are conceptual and are for representational purposes only.”  It did not, however, share any more details.

In an e-mailed statement, Jason Baker, vice president of international campaigns for PETA, Asia, said the opening of a marine park will have Marsa Al Arab go from the “height of luxury to the height of cruelty”.

“In captivity, orcas and other marine mammals can only swim in endless circles in tanks that are the equivalent of bathtubs, and they are denied the opportunity to engage in almost any natural behaviour. They are forced to perform meaningless tricks and often torn away from family members. Most die far short of their natural life spans.”

He advised Marsa Al Arab to focus on their plans to build an “amazing water park, without having animals suffering as part of it”.

“PETA would be there to support the project. They can earn seven stars of compassion by keeping the animal attractions out of their plans.”

In an interview published in the May 14 edition of Arabian Business magazine, Mohammed Al Zaabi, chief executive officer, Miral Asset Management, said SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will not have orcas with the park being a next-generation SeaWorld.

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