Georgia Aquarium wants to import 18 wild-caught belugas, despite the National Marine Fisheries Service ruling that it can’t because of conservation issues.
The whales would come from Russia, torn from their family groups and destined for a miserable life behind glass. According to the Fisheries Service, five of these whales could still be nursing, i.e. dependent on their mothers.
The Fisheries Service refused a permit to import the whales on the grounds that this could have a significant impact on the wild population. Georgia Aquarium, however, is not taking no for an answer and plans to fight to ruling to the best of its ability.
Directly threatening already struggling whale populations is no way supports the Aquarium’s already dubious conservation claims. The cruelty involved, meanwhile, is completely unacceptable.
Tell Georgia Aquarium to stop fighting for the “right” to endanger whales and to start phasing out the keeping of cetaceans altogether.
We the undersigned ask that you immediately stop trying to get the ruling that you cannot import 18 wild-caught belugas overturned. Keeping belugas and other cetaceans in captivity is not educational, does not help conservation efforts, and does not in any way help the animals.
In fact, the practice directly threatens whale populations, not to mention being completely unacceptable on animal welfare grounds. It is illegal in many countries for these reasons.
Rather than fight for the right to endanger wild whales, Georgia Aquarium should be taking the lead in cetacean conservation and welfare, which starts with abandoning this terrible plan.
This should be immediately followed by the aquarium phasing out its keeping of cetaceans altogether, rehabilitating the animals that can be and retiring the others.
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