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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mystic officially certified for its humane and ethical treatment of animals

Less than a dozen similarly certified institutions worldwide

Rescued seal returned to the sea from Charlestown's Blue Shutters
Beach (photo by Will Collette)
Mystic Aquarium proudly announced its certification by the American Humane Conservation program, a first-of-its-kind effort dedicated solely to helping ensure that animals living in human care at the world’s zoos and aquariums are humanely and ethically treated.

After a rigorous third-party audit based on science-based standards created by the world’s leading animal scientists, animal behaviorists and animal ethicists, Mystic Aquarium received the Humane Certified™ seal, confirming that “good welfare and humane treatment of all individuals and species is provided at the facility.”

The American Humane Conservation certification program was created by American Humane, the country's first national humane organization and the world's largest certifier of animal wellbeing, overseeing the wellbeing of some 1 billion animals.

With this honor, Mystic Aquarium joins an elite group of fewer than a dozen Humane Certified institutions worldwide.

“We are incredibly proud to be among the first institutions to receive this prestigious certification,” said Dr. Stephen M. Coan, President and CEO at Mystic Aquarium. “Animal welfare has always been and will continue to be at the forefront of what we do here at Mystic Aquarium.”

“The recognition of our standards by such an esteemed organization and its animal welfare professionals is not only meaningful but also validation of our vocation,” added Larry Rivarde, Senior Vice President of Zoological Operations at Mystic Aquarium.

“The certification of Mystic Aquarium by the American Humane Conservation program shows the institution’s commitment to meeting the highest standards of humane, verifiable, and transparent animal care,” said American Humane President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert.

“American Humane is proud to recognize this world-class institution with its prestigious Humane Certified seal of approval, demonstrating to the public Mystic Aquarium’s leadership as a responsible, humane steward of the remarkable animals living in its care.”

The audit noted that many of the marine mammal areas excel in their planning each day with the animals’ learning, social and husbandry goals in mind. Mystic Aquarium employs specialized animal care professionals including veterinarians, animal trainers, aquarists and herpetologists.

“This certification is acknowledgement of the incredible passion shared by our team of animal care professionals and their ongoing and unwavering dedication to the animals in our care,” said Laurie Macha, Mystic Aquarium’s Curator of Marine Mammals and Birds. “We are acutely aware that it is a privilege to work with, care for and protect these animals.” 


Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums with more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England’s only belugas. Mystic Aquarium has been a pioneer in offering guests a variety of up close encounters with a wide range of marine animals. The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education and research. Mystic Aquarium receives major support from The Coca-Cola Company, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Resorts World Sentosa and United Technologies Corporation. Learn more at


Founded in 1877, American Humane is the country's first national humane organization. For more information about American Humane or the American Humane Certified™ program, please visit