WDC and partner organisation OceanCare handed over 30,000 origami whales and dolphins to the European Parliament on 9th October as part of a campaign highlighting the plight of these animals held captive in tanks at dolphinaria across Europe.
The paper dolphins, made mainly by school children and WDC supporters, were ‘set free’ at a reception organized within the EU Parliament building in Brussels and attended by several Members of the European Parliament, their staff, and other conservation groups.
Whales and dolphins are very intelligent and can travel up to 100 miles in a day in the wild, but they can’t do that in a small concrete tank. They live impoverished lives doing the same tricks day after day, and drugs have been used to control them. The facilities that house them continue to fail to meet the biological requirements of these highly mobile, intelligent creatures and , sadly, there are still nearly 300 captive whales and dolphins held within 34 facilities in 15 EU Member States.
WDC is requesting that the Parliament better protects dolphins in captivity and eventually phases out dolphinaria in the EU.
Among those present to show their support for this campaign were UK Liberal Democrat MEP, Catherine Bearder, and Greek MEP Kriton Arsenis.
“Cetaceans have been an inspiration to people since antiquity and we owe it to the future generations to ensure their effective protection. I am committed to raising awareness regarding the need to protect cetaceans and to ensuring that European legislation does so effectively.” says Kriton Arsenis, MEP from Greece.
“Dolphinaria and the Member States that licence them, are failing to meet the requirements of EU legislation which aims to protect whales and dolphins in captivity. Only a comprehensive and fact-based review of national legislation by the Member States can improve the situation for dolphins. Representing the thousands of supporters we’re calling for a shutdown of all captive facilities in the EU”, says Rob Lott, WDC’s anti-captivity campaign lead.
“Lots of families will visit these shows whilst on holidays without realising that they are cruel,” says Jess Feghali-Brown, youth engagement officer at WDC. “In captivity dolphins just don’t have the space or stimulation they need and are lost to family and friends. It’s not educational, it’s not conservation, it’s all about making profits.”
“Asking the public to make origami whales and dolphins is part of WDC’s campaign to change their future and work towards making the EU a dolphinaria-free zone. By making these dolphins, the people of Europe have made a bold statement to the European Parliament.”
Thousands of children started making the origami dolphins after following simple instructions available on the WDC website.
“There are many fantastic opportunities to see whales and dolphins in the wild with a responsible boat operator, there is no justification for keeping them captive”, Jess concludes.