Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality Piet Adema has blocked the sale of eight bottlenose dolphins from Dolfinarium Harderwijk to Hainan Ocean Paradise in China, due to China’s lack of animal welfare legislation. The minister has requested further information from the Netherlands marine park, as the company have not yet shown that the keeping and caring of the dolphins once in China will be in line with the standards set for Dutch zoos.
Previously when the zoo showed interest in selling eight dolphins, two sea lions and two walruses to China, MPs overwhelmingly backed a motion against the deal. The dolphins at Dolfinarium Harderwijk no longer perform tricks for the public following a critical report about their living conditions at the park, and if they are moved to China, and no longer under any control from the Dutch authorities, there is no guarantee that the dolphins will not be used for entertainment or breeding purposes. In 2022, Parques Reunidos closed its dolphinarium in Aquopolis, Costa Dorada (Spain), and sent its nine dolphins to Hainan Ocean Paradise.