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Connecticut Aquarium Delays Importing Whales Pending Animal Rights Lawsuit

Image by Micha? Lech from Pixabay

Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut will delay its acquisition of five beluga whales as it awaits the outcome of a federal lawsuit filed by an animal rights group.

The aquarium has agreed not to import the whales from their home in Ontario, Canada, until March 31.

Friends of Animals, based in Darien, Connecticut, filed the lawsuit in September against U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which approved the research permit allowing the aquarium to import the whales.

The group said the whales would be harmed by the journey from Canada to Connecticut, by breaking their social relationships with other whales.

Mystic Aquarium officials have said the permit will allow them to conduct research to help change endangered beluga whale populations. Friends of Animals argue that the permit is in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and National Environmental Protection Policy Act because it does not address the potential dangers of transporting the belugas.