Actress Kim Basinger is celebrating after winning a major victory against SeaWorld bosses.
The longtime animal rights activist teamed up with leaders from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) to fight plans that would allow bosses at the Georgia Aquarium and its SeaWorld affiliates to import beluga whales from Russia.
Thanks to their actions and exposes, and the fall-out from controversial new film Blackfish - about the lives of whales in captivity, officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have denied SeaWorld's latest request to stock their parks.
Peta spokesperson Moira Colley tells Wenn, "This is a move that marks the beginning of the end for the wretched exhibition of enslaved whales.
"Thanks to movies such as Blackfish and Peta's lawsuit against SeaWorld for violating orcas' 13th Amendment right to freedom, people have learned of the rodeo-style capture of whales from their pods in the ocean.
"What's left is for the public to be further upset that captive adult whales are masturbated by their trainers to produce semen and artificially inseminated to produce young: another atrocity that must be stopped. And then finally, the abusement (sic) parks will close, and the whales and dolphins will be removed from their cement bathtubs and returned to the oceans, where they belong."
She adds, "Kim Basinger’s heartfelt plea to Noaa on behalf of the 18 belugas who were cruelly torn from their families in Russian waters helped ensure that the agency made the right decision today to deny permits to import the animals for a life in small tanks at Us amusement parks like SeaWorld.
"Peta is grateful to her for helping see this campaign through."