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article imageRipley's aquarium petting zone criticized

By Tim Sandle     Jun 21, 2014 in Environment
Toronto - Ripley's Aquarium of Canada has a space where visitors can lean in and touch rays and sharks. The practice has come under fire via a major petition, which states that this is cruel.
Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is an aquarium in Toronto is one of three aquariums owned and operated by Ripley Entertainment. It is located in downtown Toronto, just south of the CN Tower. The aquarium features several aquatic exhibits including a walk-through tank.
One of the aquarium's attractions are 'touch tanks'. These areas let visitors touch what the owner's describe as "tame and lovable creatures of the deep."
The 'petting zones' have come under attack via a new petition. The petitioners argue that s the practice of touching the creatures must stop. This is because the practice "causes stress on animals, which already do not live in their natural habitat." The petition has just under 28,000 signatures to date.
Interviewed by the Huffington Post, Andy Dehart from the aquarium, countered the petitioners' views by saying: "What we've found at aquariums throughout North America and the world is that these touch encounters do a great job of putting a backseat to the perception of these animals being dangerous."
The petition has yet to be sent to the aquarium; when it does, a formal response is expected.
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