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Regressive Animal Welfare Bill Defeated in Connecticut

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, March 17, 2020 — The Connecticut General Assembly’s Environment Committee last week voted down House Bill No. 5341, a piece of legislation that would diminish the quality of life for beluga whales living in the state.

“This is a victory for marine mammal welfare in the state of Connecticut,” said Dr. Paul Boyle, National Director, American Humane CertifiedTM. “This bill was a direct attack on Mystic Aquarium, an institution at the forefront of the conservation and preservation efforts for beluga whales.”

Dr. Boyle testified on Friday in Hartford that the bill was inhumane and unscientific. If passed, the law would have resulted in the de facto inhumane treatment of animals by forcing the separation of male and female cetaceans living in human care. A core tenet of animal welfare is allowing animals to exhibit their natural behaviors.

Mystic Aquarium, an American Humane CertifiedTM institution, is the only facility in Connecticut that houses whales. By aiming to shut down their beluga program, this legislation would have threatened the aquarium’s work championing vital research on belugas. Without that research, regulators would lack scientific guidance in approaching the protection of dwindling wild beluga populations.

The American Humane CertifiedTM program, which verifies outstanding welfare at zoological facilities around the world, is based on criteria developed by world leaders in animal science and ethics. Only organizations that demonstrate outstanding animal welfare, and live up to science-based standards, are certified by American Humane.

“We will fight legislation that threatens animal welfare in any state and around the world,” said Dr. Boyle. “In the face of a sixth mass extinction, excellent zoos and aquariums are more important than ever to preserving our world’s biodiversity and connecting people to nature.”

About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization. Founded in 1877, American Humane is committed globally to ensuring the safety, welfare, and well-being of animals, and our leadership programs are first to serve in promoting and nurturing the bonds between animals and people. For more information or to support our work, please visit

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