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Adele comes under fire for aquarium visit

Adele has been criticized by animal rights groups for frolicking with whales at an aquarium in Chicago, Illinois.

The British soul superstar visited the Shedd Aquarium sea life attraction on Monday (11Jul16) ahead of her three dates at the city's United Center venue this week.

At her first Chicago gig on Monday the Hello singer told fans how she had got up close up and personal with one of Shedd's biggest attractions, their beluga whales.

However, Mimi Bekhechi, a director at animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), alleges the inhumane nature of keeping whales in captivity has led to a number of deaths at the aquarium and urged the star to speak out against the practice.

"We know that Adele cares about animals, so we're sure she isn't aware that aquariums are miserable places for marine life and would be devastated to discover that Shedd has a wretched reputation and a long history of marine mammal deaths," Mimi tells WENN.

"In nature, beluga whales live in Arctic waters where they swim huge distances in close-knit family groups. They are sensitive, intelligent and emotionally complex animals, and confining them to tanks filled with water that is chemically treated and contains their own diluted waste as well as separating them from those they love is torture to them. "

A beluga whale calf died shortly after being born at the aquarium in 2009, while Puji, the last beluga whale at the aquarium captured from the wild, died at the age of 25 in 2011.

Mimi urged Adele to join those who have campaigned against attractions featuring animals, adding, "We're sharing this information now with Adele and urging her to join the millions of people around the world who see animal exhibits for the prisons they are and refuse to patronize places that exploit animals for profit."

At Monday's concert Adele told fans how she had nuzzled with one of the whales, saying, "I felt so at peace with myself when I did it. She (the whale) put her cheek to my cheek, and it was one of the best things I've ever done in my life."

Another organization to urge the star to disavow her praise for her aquarium visit is the charity Marine Connection, whose spokesperson told the i newspaper, "We are urging Adele to use her prominent position to share the truth about how captivity harms whales and dolphins."

Adele's representatives were approached for comment, but had not replied at the time of WENN going to press.

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