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WDC joins call to end dolphin captivity in Europe

WDC, together with a number of the world’s leading dolphin experts have launched a new initiative at the European Parliament to raise awareness about the exploitation of hundreds of captive whales and dolphins in Europe’s 33 captive facilities, located in 15 EU countries.

The Dolphinaria-Free Europe coalition, are calling upon European citizens, Euro-Parliamentarians and Member State governments to end captive dolphin shows and interactive sessions which, they assert, exploit the animals and compromise their welfare.  


Keith Taylor, a UK Member of the European Parliament, and one of the co-hosts of the launch said, “I fully support the objectives of the Dolphinaria-Free Europe coalition. To confine creatures such as whales, dolphins and porpoise, which are used to roaming large territories to live in small pools – all in the name of public entertainment – is cruel.”  

In the EU, 32 of the 33 facilities are regulated by national zoo laws in the State where they are located and by EC Directive 1999/22, relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos (also known as “The Zoos Directive”), requiring all dolphinaria to make demonstrable commitments to species conservation, public education and higher standards of animal welfare. A recent report, written by WDC entitled, Dolphinaria – A review of the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity in the European Union and EC Directive 1999/22, relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos (WDC, 2nd Ed 2015) highlighted the fact that 15 (out of 28 States that kept captive dolphins at the time of publication) contravened the terms of EU Zoos Directive and largely failed to meet their legal obligations under national law.  

The Dolphinaria-Free Europe coalition will be challenging the captive dolphin industry throughout Europe: investigating malpractice; exposing non-compliance; and seeking the closure of captive facilities that only exploit their animals as objects of entertainment in meaningless shows and interactive activities.