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A trainer at a Russian Aquarium was caught on CCTV kicking and slapping two beluga whales, Daily Mail reports. Dmitry Bachinsky was caught lashing out at Nil and Lear, the whales, during his work at Primorsky Oceanarium in Vladivostok.

Animal rights campaigners say the treatment was after the whales refused to do a stunt. Freedom for Killer Whales and Belugas said in a statement, “On the left is a 12-year-old beluga whale called Nil and Bachinsky punches him,” the group alleged, “On the right is a 13-year-old male beluga whale called Lear. Bachinsky kicks Lear.”

The aquarium denied the treatment. But activists say this isn’t the first time the trainer has restored to such methods. Dmitry Lisitsyn, from Sakhalin Ekovahta, said: “These are abnormal methods, barbaric, and in law this amounts to cruelty to animals. This is not training, but beating.”

The aquarium has also been cited in other controversies. In 2017, a beluga whale died after getting tangled in nets and a different trainer was fired for beating a walrus.

It’s time to #emptythetanks for good! Dolphins and other whales in captivity are subject to stressful human interactions cause them physical and mental suffering. Dolphins in parks are confined to small tanks, which increase aggression and reduce necessary mental stimulation. They need to be left in the ocean, where they have freedom and can enjoy their lives in peace.

You can also sign this petition to ban dolphin and whale captivity!

Read more about dolphins in captivity in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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