The Born Free Foundation, together with all members of ENDCAP, has joined a pan-European Alliance of animal welfare organisations to challenge the European dolphinaria industry. The European Alliance to End Dolphin Captivity (EAEDC) aims to raise awareness about the damage captivity often causes these intelligent animals, expose their unregulated wild-capture which is used to maintain an unsustainable industry, challenge the significance of Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT) and campaign to halt the numbers of new captive facilities being built in Europe and surrounding countries.
Captive dolphins and whales (collectively known as ‘cetaceans’), like thousands of other wild animal species, are victims of the captive animal industry. Confined to small, cramped and featureless tanks filled with chemically-treated water, the captive environment is so different to the vast oceans from which many have been captured. Known to suffer from stress, aggression, reduced life expectancy, breeding problems and ulceration often caused by the chemicals in the water, captive cetaceans have an extremely bleak future in the hundreds of dolphinaria and marine parks around the world.
In Europe, these wild animal species, as with all wild animal species kept in zoos, should be protected under the European Zoos Directive (1999/22/EC) and facilities are thus obligated to meet standards in animal care, public education and conservation commitment. However in many cases, captive cetacean facilities appear to be falling through the legislative net.
The import of 12 bottlenose dolphins from the notorious Japanese Drive Hunts into Turkey, the establishment of new dolphinaria in Spain and France, the increase of Dolphin Assisted Therapy in Europe, plus a recently released paper raising concerns about the direct contact with the dolphins in swim-with activities, have caused cetacean experts to call on the European Community to seek greater protection for Europe’s Forgotten Animals.
The Born Free Foundation, together with our European partners need your help and support of this campaign. We want to ensure captive whales and dolphins have a voice and receive greater protection in Europe. Together, we aim to collect over one million signatures to help convince politicians and the Commission in Brussels that something needs to be done to help these beautiful, charismatic wild animals.
Signatories to this petition do not believe that whales and dolphins in captivity are subjected to a suitable environment as required by the Directive 1999/22/EC*, and therefore request an immediate ban on the construction of new dolphinaria and a prohibition of the trade in whales and dolphins in the EU Member States, EU Applicant Countries, Turkey, and Switzerland.
The capture of dolphins, their trade, and keeping in captivity cannot be justified from an animal welfare or species protection point of view.