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APHIS: Apply the Code of Federal Regulations to Lolita's Tank Now!

This petition had 1,319 supporters


APHIS: As you are well aware, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government of the United States.

APHIS is required to uphold the regulatory definitions in the Code of Federal Regulations, as well as enforce the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act.

In the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 9 CFR 1.1 defines "minimum horizontal dimension" (MHD) as "the diameter of a circular pool of water, or in the case of a square, rectangle, oblong, or other shape pool, the diameter of the largest circle that can be inserted within the confines of such a pool of water."

But when a circle is inserted within the confines of the whale bowl at the Miami Seaquarium, it can not meet the stipulated minimum horizontal dimension due to an obstruction, contrary to the rules and regulations of the CRF.

For over four decades, concerned and compassionate citizens, animal advocates, and marine mammal activists have decried the cramped confines and unlawful dimensions of the whale bowl that has contained the captive orca known as Lolita. Most recently, the Marine Mammal Commission (MMC), a government agency that works with the US Congress to protect animals, added its voice to these concerns, effectively slamming APHIS for failing to adequately address this outstanding issue of compliance:

MMC Executive Director, Rebecca Lent, stated in the commission's letter to APHIS, dated May, 2016, that:
"The existing regulations specify that enclosures must be constructed and maintained so that the animals contained within are provided sufficient space, both horizontally and vertically, to be able to make normal postural and social adjustments with adequate freedom of movement, in or out of the water."  Dr. Lent stressed that, "All minimum space requirements should be met in an unobstructed manner, otherwise the definition of 'minimum' would be rendered meaningless."

Therefore, we, the undersigned, hereby urge APHIS to respond accordingly, by taking immediate steps to properly apply federally prescribed MHD to ascertain the accurate dimensions of the whale bowl at the Miami Seaquarium. We further demand that APHIS uphold US federal rules and regulations as per provisions in the Code of Federal Regulations, and that it effect compliance with all federal law in this matter, including the Animal Welfare Act, without further delay.




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