Loro Parque’s ‘Encyclopedia of Anti-Captivity Arguments’

image: courtesy Marine Connection

Recently, the Spanish theme park Loro Parque produced a document, the ‘Encyclopedia of Anti-Captivity Arguments,’ in which they attempt to rebut quoted statements from various sources expressing an anti-captivity viewpoint. Many of these statements were made by the undersigned or the organisations we represent. We welcome any opportunity to add clarity to the debate over cetaceans in captivity; however, as professional marine mammal scientists, advocates and educators ourselves, we felt it was necessary to voice our concerns over this document and how our statements were presented.

We note that most of the quoted statements are taken out of context; there are numerous errors in the rebuttals; and several studies are cited in ways that distort their actual results. Given the document’s length, we feel it is not a constructive use of our time to rebut this document in-depth, but rather we will continue to gather scientific evidence, publish peer-reviewed and white papers, and work towards the end of keeping cetaceans in captivity for commercial purposes.

We recommend that those seeking additional information consult SeaWorld Fact Check, where similar statements by Loro Parque’s previous corporate partner, SeaWorld, and the rebuttals that some of us have produced can be found.

We recognise that it is likely the industry will produce more of this type of rhetoric; however, it is our view that the fundamental animal welfare concerns associated with these types of facilities will not be resolved until there are no more cetaceans in concrete tanks.

Signed (alphabetically by organisation)

Naomi A. Rose, PhD
Animal Welfare Institute

Chris Draper
Born Free Foundation

Margaux Dodds
Dolphinaria-Free Europe
Marine Connection

Ric O’Barry
The Dolphin Project

Miriam Martinez, PHD

William Neal
Long Gone Wild

Howard Garrett
Orca Network

Ingrid N. Visser, PhD
Orca Research Trust
Free Morgan Foundation

Silvia Barquero

Cathy Williamson
Whale and Dolphin Conservation
(formerly Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society)

Jürgen Ortmüller
Whale and Dolphin Protection Forum