Animal rights activists are protesting the proposed importation of 18 beluga whales to American aquatic parks. Leading the importation initiative is the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, which claims the whales are needed for captive breeding, research, and education. Those opposed to the plan are protesting on bioethical grounds, citing the belugas’ vast natural habitat and migration patterns, which cannot be recreated in even the best captive conditions. There are currently 31 captive belugas on display in the United States, where their expressive features and friendly nature make them popular attractions. Some parks, like Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, charge as much as $450 to experience the animals up close in their enclosure. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will hold a public hearing on the issue this Friday in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Via New York Times