As part of the redevelopment of Silvertown Quays in East London the Zoological Society of London (operators of London Zoo) are proposing a new aquarium. If built Biota! would be one of the largest aquariums in Europe at an estimated cost of £80 million.
Not everyone thinks that this is a good idea. Last year an international coalition was formed to oppose the aquarium including The Captive Animals' Protection Society, Marine Connection, Animal Aid, the Green Party and Friends of Animals. Now animal protection campaigners are claiming that the building would do "little to further conservation" and would be nothing more than a "glorified zoo".
One of Londonist's favourite poets has also spoken out against the plans in a press release from CAPS:
"Poet Benjamin Zephaniah, a resident of Newham, where the aquarium is to be built, backed the opposition. Comparing the capture and death of animals to the slave trade, Benjamin commented: "Just like black slaves back in the day that died on the high seas, many fish die before they reach the aquariums of Europe. That can't be right.""
We're all for redevelopment in London, but in all honesty we'd rather see £80 million spent on keeping animals in their natural habitats rather than shipping them here just to be poked at by bored kids on school trips. The last time we wandered around London Zoo we felt as depressed as the orangutans looked and actually felt guilty over the fact that we were free to leave.
You can read more about the problems with aquaria (love that word) on the CAPS website and in detail in their Suffering Deep Down report.