The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity

First produced in 1995, the  5th edition of ‘The Case Against Marine Mammals In Captivity”, has now been released.

A joint production by Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and World Animal Protection (WAP) the report is an excellent resource to learn more about the various arguments against holding marine mammals for public display in zoos, aquaria, and marine theme parks.

A great deal has happened in this area in the past decade since the 4th edition was published and this latest report has several new chapters covering research, events and advances that offer additional support for the argument of why marine mammals, especially the larger, wide-ranging predators such as whales, dolphins, and polar bears, simply do not belong in captivity.

Dr Naomi Rose,  the report’s lead author and AWI’s marine mammal scientist (also consultant to Dolphinaria-Free Europe) sums this up perfectly when stating “there is no way for them to thrive in captivity, we cannot give them what they need in captivity when what they need is the complex ocean environment.”

The report can be downloaded here

Are Barcelona’s dolphins destined for Attica Park?

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Four dolphins performing at Attica Park

Dolphinaria-Free Europe has given its support to a recent press release relating to the potential importation of more dolphins to Attica Park, Greece.

We have been advised that there are plans to import 3 dolphins into Attica from Barcelona Dolphinarium following the decision by Barcelona City Hall in 2016 to close their facility to the public.  Despite concerns over animal welfare and having been fined €44,350 for violating animal protection laws and operating without a license for four years after it expired in 2013, this private zoo continues to operate.

Having previously agreed to the importation of 4 dolphins from Finland and 2 from France, DFE is calling for the Ministry of Environment to enforce the law and reject the request to import the dolphins from Barcelona.  To consider such an authorisation into a facility which continues to violate laws relating to the prohibition of animal performances in Greece is unthinkable and poses a threat to the future for Barcelona’s dolphins.

DFE calls for phase-out to end cetacean captivity in Europe

Help us end this! Dolphins at Nuremberg, Germany

Dolphinaria-Free Europe (DFE) recently approached all MEPs in the European Parliament urging them to include a phase-out of the keeping of dolphins and whales in captivity for public entertainment in the run-up to the European Elections.

With the European Elections due to take place in May this year, we are urging MEPs to include this in their party manifesto and further support our campaign by posting a #DolphinariaFreeEurope selfie on their social media platforms.

Do you want to achieve a Europe without captive dolphins and whales?

Become part of our Dolphinaria-Free Europe campaign today!

  • Stand up for dolphins and whales by taking a selfie with our #DolphinariaFreeEurope board and share on social media (#DolphinariaFreeEurope  #cetaceancaptivity  #Blackfish  #dolphins  #whales)
  • Encourage others to take a selfie and pledge their support.
  • Contact your own MEP (details here) asking them to support our campaign to end dolphin and whale captivity in Europe
  • Spread the word – avoid visiting zoos and aquaria holding dolphins and whales in captivity

French translation of the above article is available here

Reflecting on the death of a trainer

image courtesy Marine Connection


In this short documentary, journalist Michael Altenhenne portrays a mother’s search for truth and her struggle against orcas being held in captivity.

Featuring Mercedes Hernandez, mother of 29-year-old Alexis Martinez Hernandez, the trainer who was killed by Keto the orca during show rehearsal at Tenerife’s Loro Parque on Xmas Eve 2009, the documentary highlights her loss and why she believes these shows must now end.

The documentary can be viewed here






Dolphin facility planned for Budapest – we need your help

Dolphinaria-Free Europe (DFE) was recently alerted to news that the owner of Tropicarium Aquarium in Budapest plans to display dolphins at the facility.

Since 1992, Hungary has had in place a ban on the importation of wild-caught dolphins for display purposes following the illegal importation of five bottlenose dolphins into the country in that year, one of which died within the first week. The remaining dolphins were then returned to Ukraine and the dolphinarium closed.  Hungary has not displayed captive dolphins since that time, however, the owner of Tropicarium now wishes to change this, and has confirmed the marine mammals they plan to display will be obtained from captive facilities within Europe.

DFE coalition is determined to stop this and has contacted Dr István Nagy, Minister of Agriculture for Hungary requesting that any application to import dolphins for public display at Tropicarium be denied.

Please join DFE in opposing these plans and support our campaign by emailing the Minister, voicing your concern to:


Timeline on Morgan’s pregnancy raises many questions

for DFE site_timelineMorgan

Since SeaWorld announced the end of their orca breeding programme, it was assumed that the orcas at Loro Parque, who were at that time included in SeaWorld’s collection, would be subject to the same conditions.

Since the announcement of Morgan’s pregnancy, the question of just when she became pregnant and whether both Loro Parque and SeaWorld had been aware of this when Morgan was still under SeaWorld’s ownership, have continued to be raised.

Free Morgan Foundation, members of Dolphinaria-Free Europe, have been advocates for Morgan since her initial capture, now report that her pregnancy didn’t happen in a vacuum. It wasn’t an “accident” as Javier Almunia (the head of Loro Parque Foundation and in charge of the orca) has claimed. Furthermore, the male orca who impregnated Morgan, belonged at the time to SeaWorld, who had a company-wide ban on orca breeding.

Further details and the timeline of relevant dates can be found here on the Free Morgan website