23 August 2013
Rimini Dolphinarium, in north east Italy, has been fined €18,000 for breaching their legislative requirements.
August: Reportedly inspected by an interministerial task force (including enforcement officers from all relevant ministries in the country), Rimini dolphinaria was found to be in breach of both the Decree 73/2005 – requiring all facilities to hold a zoo licence – and the Ministerial Decree 469/2001 – that regulates facilities keeping bottlenose dolphins in captivity. Irregularities included: the administration of tranquilisers and hormonal therapies to the dolphins to reduce aggression and sexual behaviours; inappropriate housing conditions, which fail to meet the physical and psychological requirements of the animals; no shade for the animals (in temperatures reaching 35oC this summer); an inadequate water cooling and cleaning system; a lack of necessary facilities to separate sick or quarantined animals; and an inadequate preventative and curative veterinary programme. The results of the inspection have been reported to the Italian judicial authorities and since inspection, Rimini Dolphinarium has remained closed to the public.
Animal welfare organisations, LAV, Marevivo and ENPA, supported by the Born Free Foundation, have applauded the actions of the authorities and called for the permanent closure of the facility.
Daniel Turner, spokesperson for Born Free said, “Rimini dolphinarium, as with the majority of the five dolphinaria in Italy are not compliant with their legal requirements. Three are not properly licensed; all, but Genova Aquarium, require their dolphins to perform tricks to music; whilst none of them seemingly contribute to public education or species conservation.” Turner concluded, “All the facilities should be phased out and the 26 dolphins relocated to an appropriate rehabilitation facility.”