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Animal rights group sues to block aquarium from acquiring 5 beluga whales for research

Friends of Animals is suing over the granting of the research permit because of the harm to the belugas in being moved, in violation of Marine Mammal Protection Act.

DAVE COLLINS: An animals rights group is suing in federal court to stop a Connecticut aquarium from acquiring five more beluga whales for research, saying they would be harmed by the trip from Canada and by being torn from long-term relationships with others of their species.

Friends of Animals, based in Darien, Connecticut, filed the lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which approved the research permit that allows Mystic Aquarium to import the belugas from Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Mystic Aquarium is already home to three beluga whales, which are known for their white color and vocal sounds. In Mystic, they live in a 750,000-gallon outdoor habitat that the aquarium calls the largest in the United States. The five whales in Canada were born in captivity…

Friends of Animals is suing over the granting of the research permit, which the group claims violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the National Environmental Protection Act because government officials did not adequately address the potential harm to the belugas of being moved to Mystic.

“Moving these belugas inflicts two distinct traumas on them,” the group said in a statement. “It tears them away from deep familial and social relationships that they have formed with the dozens of other belugas at Marineland, and the long and foreign voyage on trucks and airplanes emotionally and psychologically scars them.” SOURCE…

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