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Cetacean community thwarted in Dubya sonar suit

Court rules against Flipper et al

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The world's cetacean community - encompassing dolphins, porpoises and whales - has been dealt a severe blow in its fight to sue president George Bush over the US Navy's use of sonar, Reuters reports.

Three judges at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco declared that animals had not yet been given the right to sue, although they noted that they saw no legal reason why they should not be permitted to to enjoy indulging in the US national pastime of litigation. Nonetheless, Judge William A. Fletcher's 18-page judgement declared: "If Congress and the President intended to take the extraordinary step of authorizing animals as well as people and legal entities to sue they could and should have said so plainly."

The subaquatic suit was directed at Dubya and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by activist Lanny Sinkin on behalf of the cetaceans. It asserted that the US Navy had "violated the Endangered Species Act with its use of long range, low frequency sonar that can cause tissue damage and other injuries to marine mammals".

The appropriately-named Sinkin was unavailable for comment after the ruling. Neither did Flipper, Willy or Moby Dick apparently make their opinions known. ®

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