Cetacean Legislation by Country

Many countries have legislation/laws in place with regards to the keeping of cetaceans or banning their public display.  Below are several examples for reference.

18 March 2019 – Ministerial Decree to amend various stipulations of the Ministerial Decree of 3 May 1999 on the establishment of minimum standards for keeping mammals in <zoos>

March 2021 – Ban on keeping of cetaceans in captivity in Brussels Capitol Region
Unofficial English Translation

03 January 2011 – Cetaceans (Cetacea) 192/EEO/2003 Regulations for housing captive cetaceans – came into effect on 31.03.2003 (currently under review)
Unofficial English Translation

25 March 2004 – Legislation for Keeping of Cetaceans

July 2009 – Bundesnaturschutzgesetz (Federal Nature Conservation Act)
7 May 2014 – BMEL (Agricultural Ministry) Guideline for Zoo animals including dolphins
(note, the BMEL document are guidelines only and not legally binding)

Law 4039/2012 and 4235/2014 (articles 12, 13, 14) – banning animal performances in the country.

21 March 2005 – Legislative Decree 21 March 2005, n. 73
Implementation of Directive 1999/22 / EC relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos
Amendments to regulations: 28 May 2015 and 20 December 2017

2018 – Ban on swimming with dolphins in captivity
Implementation of Directive 1999/22/EC on the keeping of wild animals in zoos. (17A08711)

2017 – Animal Protection Act
17 January 2018 – Nature Conservation Act
28 December 2016 – Minister of Environment Protection of Species
20 December 2004 – Minister of Environment Conditions for Keeping and Husbandry of Captive Animals

SJVFS 2009:92, L 108, Kap 7 – Legislation regarding the keeping of dolphins and whales in captivity

2012 – Animal Protection Law

1990 – Supplement to the Secretary of State’s Standards Of Modern Zoo Practice
(Additional Standards for UK Cetacean Keeping)

*Denotes countries that currently have no facilities holding captive cetaceans but do have legislation in place regarding their keeping and husbandry.



USA California
2017 – Orca Protection Act 2017

21 June 2019 – Bill S-203, Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act