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.
SOS Delfines Roadshow embarks on 4 City Tour.
Barcelona, 4th July: ‘Captive Dolphin Day’: International NGOs from across Europe launched ‘SOS DELFINES’ today, a campaign aimed at convincing the Spanish Government to phase-out the country’s captive dolphin facilities and raising greater public awareness of the plight of captive dolphins in entertainment-focused marine parks.
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.
Daniel Turner, spokesperson for the Born Free Foundation, ‘SOS Delfines’ UK partner, explained; “Although the campaign is primarily aimed at the Spanish public and Government, the millions of British tourists who visit Spain 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 in Spain this summer.” 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.”
Dolphins (which include orca, the largest member of the dolphin family) travel as much as 160 km a day in the wild, and live in social groups of between three and 30 related individuals, known as pods. In captivity, the situation is very different. Dolphins in captivity are often unrelated and are compelled to live in sterile, chemically-controlled tanks a tiny fraction of the size of their wild environment where they are denied the life choices (where to go, what to eat and who to associate with) that they would enjoy in their natural environment.
A 2011 survey of the Spanish public revealed that few people support the captive dolphin industry. In fact, an impressive 77% of the those surveyed are currently against the keeping of dolphins in captivity for public display and an overwhelming 92% would favour banning the capture and confinement of dolphins. Of those questioned, 87% believe dolphins are ‘happier’ in the wild. The IPSOS Survey, commissioned by NGOs, FAADA and One Voice, also found that few people were aware that that captive dolphins suffer from depression, stress, and even early mortality. SOS Delfines aims to encourage greater appreciation of these problems and bring about an end to the exploitation of captive dolphins for human ‘entertainment’.
This week the SOS Delfines campaign will take its message to four cities: Barcelona (4th July), Valencia (5th & 6th July), Madrid (7th July) and Malaga (9th July), where it will present its campaign film ‘SOS Delfines’ (above) on a large screen in prominent locations in the city centres. The film, which includes interviews from compassionate celebrities of stage and screen, is also available on the campaign’s website www.sosdelfines.org together with an interview with Albert Lopez, a former dolphin trainer from Italy and Barcelona Zoo, who speaks of his often shocking experiences working training dolphins to perform in captivity.
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 www.sosdelfines.org , read the facts and sign our petition to end this exploitation.”