The U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has long maintained that a five foot wide work island, located in the center of the orca, Lolita's, tank at Miami Seaquarium, conforms to minimum space requirements set forth in the Animal Welfare Act. However, in a new proposal to amend the Act, APHIS seeks approval to disregard such obstructions. Given APHIS's new position, members of the animal rights community who have criticized Lolita's living conditions, assert that if the agency is now seeking authority, then "the agency does not currently have that authority." Jared Goodman, the director of animal law for PETA, argues that APHIS could not have approved the work island in the first place. As such, the work island may presently be a violation of the current Animal Welfare Act.
For more information, see:
Jonathan Kendall, Broward Palm Beach New Times, "Feds Request Authority to Disregard the Obstruction in Lolita's Tank," November 7, 2016, http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/news/feds-request-authority-to-disregard-the-obstruction-in-lolitas-tank-8153471.