One step closer for UK law that could help end global whale and dolphin captivity
By Danny Groves | 08/17/2023
A Bill, which will make it an offence to sell or advertise activities abroad that involve low standards of welfare for animals, has moved one step closer becoming law in England and Northern Ireland.
The Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill passed its second reading in the House of Lords today and will now progress to further stages where, if passed into law, it could prevent the sale or advertising of tickets in the UK to captive whale and dolphin facilities abroad. This would seriously impact on profits made by these facilities and help our campaign to end whale and dolphin captivity for good.
We joined with friends from Save the Asian Elephants (the group behind the Bill’s creation) at parliament today to lobby for more support.
‘We urgently need legislation to protect wild animals from exploitation for entertainment and profit,‘ says WDC’s director of campaigns and policy, Carla Boreham. ‘This proposed law promotes a more compassionate and responsible approach to tourism and entertainment and could provide a platform to help lead the way in ending whale and dolphin captivity globally. The next week will be decisive in determining whether parliament will pass this law in time, and we’ll keep lobbying on behalf of the whales and dolphins trapped in cruel confinement in the hope that it will.’
Keeping whales and dolphins in featureless tanks for our entertainment is cruel. They may swim endlessly in circles, some lie on the floor of the tank for many hours, chew on the sides of the pool and repeat the same patterns of behaviour over and over.
If people stop buying tickets, the dolphinaria will be forced to shut down and seek humane alternatives for the whales and dolphins now held captive, such as wild sea sanctuaries like the world’s first beluga whale sanctuary in Iceland that we helped to establish in partnership with The SEA LIFE Trust.
We continue our call for all travel operators to stop selling tickets to these shows, and for the captivity industry to commit to our ethical phase-out criteria. No performances, no breeding, no wild captures, no trade between facilities, enhanced welfare conditions, and the creation of sanctuaries and rehabilitation establishments for whales and dolphins.
Orca calf dies in China
By George Berry | 08/17/2023
The second calf of an orca known as Cookie, held in captivity at the Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park dolphinarium in China, has died shortly after being born.
It was only in September 2021 that Cookie gave birth to her first calf, which went on display to the public back in June 2022. Cookie was captured from the wild in Russian waters, most likely in 2015. She is estimated to be around eleven years old, so has spent eight years in captivity.
In the wild, female orcas learn how to care for their young in their close-knit family community. Cookie never had this chance, as she was taken from her family far too young and is kept in the dolphinarium with other young orcas who have not been able to gain this important life experience either.
While information is hard to obtain from China, it is thought that there have already been two orca offspring born in another facility, the Chimelong dolphinarium. There is currently a boom in marine parks in China. More than 1,000 whales and dolphins are already kept in concrete tanks in over 80 facilities, and more are being planned or under construction. WDC is a member of the China Cetacean Alliance, together with other NGOs and local partners, to raise awareness and stop these facilities continuing to expand in China in the long term.
Keeping these highly intelligent individuals in captivity for human entertainment is cruel and must come to an end. For whales and dolphins who are used to swimming hundreds of miles a day, a tank is a prison cell. WDC applauds California's ban on captive breeding of SeaWorld killer whales and continues to campaign for the same ban in Florida's SeaWorld. You can help end the cruel exploitation of whales and dolphins in marine parks around the world.