Kim Basinger Signs On to Formal Opposition to Aquarium’s Beluga Import Bid

PETA Enlists Actor to Ask the Court to Uphold Feds' Denial of Georgia Aquarium's Permit Application to Import 18 Wild-Caught Russian Belugas

For Immediate Release:
March 24, 2015

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Atlanta – With the Georgia Aquarium taking the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) to court over the NMFS’s denial of the aquarium’s permit application to import 18 wild-caught beluga whales from Russia, longtime PETA supporter and Georgia-born actor Kim Basinger is joining the many renowned scientists, conservation organizations, and public figures who’ve submitted an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” brief in support of NMFS.

The brief—which is cosigned by Edward Norton, Hayden Panettiere, and Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, among many others—points out that the Georgia Aquarium plans to import the belugas and distribute them to other U.S. facilities, which would include all three SeaWorld locations, in an effort to boost their failed breeding programs, even though belugas suffer immensely in captivity and it would be detrimental to conservation and adverse to science, ethics, and public sentiment. In nature, belugas travel long distances in close-knit family groups. When relegated to tiny tanks in aquariums and theme parks, they suffer from stress-related disorders and often die prematurely. While belugas in nature may live as long as 70 years, captive beluga whales routinely die before the age of 30.

“Since the tide has so clearly turned against capturing and displaying marine mammals for human entertainment, it’s ludicrous for the Georgia Aquarium to fight to import these belugas from Russia,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA and Kim Basinger trust that the court will do the right thing and make sure that these sensitive, far-ranging mammals aren’t sentenced to a lifetime of suffering in the U.S.”

The brief was submitted by law firm Perkins Coie. Basinger previously joined PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—in submitting public comments opposing the Georgia Aquarium’s import application and wrote to President Putin asking him to rehabilitate and release the caught belugas and to ban cetacean captures in Russia.

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