Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

SOS Dolphins


SOS Delfines in Spain, raising public awareness of the plight of captive dolphins in Spain (coordinated by FAADA)

Spain has the largest number of captive dolphin facilities in the European Union, with 90 dolphins, 2 beluga whales and 6 orcas in 11 facilities. The majority are located in popular tourist resorts such as Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and the Canary Islands, as well as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Malaga. Licensed as ‘zoos’ in Spain, these facilities are required by EU law to conserve biodiversity, educate the public about the animals and their natural attributes and maintain their animals in suitable conditions that meet their needs. 

More than 9 out of 10 Spanish citizens vote for a ban on keeping dolphins in captivity. A massive 87% believe that dolphins are ‘happier’ in the wild (2011).

Jennifer Berengueras, coordinator of SOS Delfines and spokesperson for FAADA; “FAADA and our partners are calling on the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment to respect public opinion and phase-out of the keeping of dolphins in captivity. The science is clear: these animals are highly intelligent and should not be confined, humiliated and made to perform demeaning, circus-style shows. Surely they deserve greater respect?  Please visit , read the facts and sign our petition to end this exploitation.”


SOS Delfini in Italy, raising public awareness of the plight of captive dolphins in Italy (coordinated by LAV and Marevivo)

We have urged the Italian Minister of Environment to ensure full compliance with the requirements of Directive 1999/22/EC and the national legislation, Ministerial decree n. 469 of 2001 on the management of the dolphin species Tursiops truncatus” explained Roberto Bennati, Vice President of LAV and member of the coalition, SOSDelfini. “Through the official complaints procedure, we have urged the European Commission to initiate an investigation into the evident violations in European law and to open an infringement procedure to ensure compliance and higher standards in animal protection. We are concerned that captive dolphin facilities in Italy do not provide the animals with their needs and are placing their animals at risk.”

Currently there are five dolphinaria in Italy: Rimini, Oltremare, Acquario di Genova, Fasanolandia and Zoomarine. Four make their animals perform circus-style tricks. Only two of the dolphinaria have been operating with the necessary zoo license, the remainder, have been operating illegally.

The dolphinarium of Rimini is currently closed, following a Court ruling upon evidence that the facility had mistreated their animals, and the dolphins have been transferred to the Acquario di Genova.

Daniel Turner, spokesperson for the Born Free Foundation, ‘SOS Delfines’ and ‘SOS Delfini’ UK partner, explained; “Although the campaigns are primarily aimed at the Spanish and Italian public and Government, the millions of British tourists who visit Spain and Italy each year have an important role to play. We are asking the British public to vote with their feet and to avoid captive dolphin facilities during their holidays.” Turner continued, “There is much scientific evidence indicating that marine mammals in captivity suffer considerably due to inappropriate living conditions, a lack of mental stimulation, stress and a variety of health and welfare problems. Born Free is convinced that once people understand how seriously captivity compromises the welfare of dolphins, the public will no longer pay good money to visit such attractions.”


EU Zoo Inquiry Dolphinaria Report

  • Info CIRCUS
  • ANDA
  • One Voice
  • Born Free Foundation
  • anima naturalis
  • LAV
  • Marevino
  • Ocean care
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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