Russian government to ban the capture of whales for entertainment

Baby orca swims at the surface of the sea with her mom
Baby orca, photo: Chris Russick via Canva

Russian President Vladimir Putin will close a legal loophole that allows whales to be captured for performances in aquariums and other venues, a move welcomed by animal rights activists.

In 2018, footage of 100 whales cramped into a facility dubbed the “whale jail” in Russia’s far east sparked an international outcry. Most of them were baby orcas, also known as killer whales, and beluga whales.

An intensive campaign by animal rights groups led to the release of these whales, which were destined for aquariums. Earlier this month, Russia said it had fully dismantled the facility.

Sergei Tsyplyonkov, director of Greenpeace Russia, asked Putin to get rid of a legal loophole that allows the capture of sea animals, most of them destined for aquariums in China.

“Are you suggesting a ban on catching [the animals] for entertainment? Yes, I agree, let’s do it this way,” Putin said on Thursday during a meeting with the presidential rights council.

Tsyplyonkov said closing the loophole was “very important” at a press conference the next day. “The attitude towards children, the elderly, and animals says a lot about a society,” he said, adding that he was “happy” that Putin agreed with him.

The Animal Reader is a small independent news platform with daily posts about issues affecting animals.

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