Dolphinaria-Free Europe member Marine Connection, are disappointed to report that it has been confirmed that the UK/Ireland branches of TUI are to continue promoting and selling excursions to their customers to facilities holding captive whales and dolphins, including Loro Parque, Tenerife and SeaWorld, Orlando. More details
Dolphinaria-Free Europe (DFE) has supported the ongoing campaign operated by colleagues in Greece in the case against the continued operation of the dolphinarium at Attica Zoo which was built without the required documentation and authorisation being in place. Although the use of any animal in performances has been banned in Greece since 2012, the park has continued to display the dolphins, flouting the law for many years.
On Friday 27 October, the case against the owner of Attica was heard in court and after hearing all evidence presented, the judge concluded that the owner of Attica Park was guilty of breaking the law and has been sentenced to 8 months in prison, although the sentence is currently suspended. It is expected however that the owner’s legal team will appeal this decision, but we welcome this very positive news for those who have fought long and hard for justice to be served, and that a conviction has been given.
DFE will continue their support for the campaign to close Attica Park dolphinarium and stop laws being flouted in the country.
We have received the news from DFE member One Voice, that 12-year-old male orca Moana has died at Marineland, Antibes. A postmortem examination has already been carried out to determine the cause of death. Moana is the first orca to have been born by artificial insemination in Europe, his mother also captive born at the facility in 2001, is still alive and must now be mourning the loss of her son. Moana’s father is wild-caught Ulises, currently circling the pools at SeaWorld San Diego, which he has done since 1994.
There has been concern over the conditions in which the orcas have been held at Marineland for some years, including algae-covered tanks. A veterinarian specialising in orcas visited Marineland on behalf of One Voice two weeks ago, and his new report states the condition of the orcas is worrying. One Voice is now launching legal proceedings to receive the autopsy report and immediate access to the orcas by independent specialists.
Further to our previous report on the passing of the Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill, prohibiting the domestic sale and promotion of wildlife experiences abroad that would be unacceptable in the UK, a joint letter (which includes sign-on from several DFE member organisations), has been sent to the Secretary of State, Therese Coffey, calling on her to ensure that the Act will include whale and dolphin attractions.
DFE member organisation One Voice has been successful in their demand for an independent assessment to be undertaken into the health of orcas Moana and Inouk at Marineland, Antibes, France where they are currently held with two other orcas Wikie and Keijo. There has long been concern about the health of the two male orcas and the conditions under which the animals live. It is hoped that when the assessment is complete it will provide clarity on the current conditions, and open the opportunity for discussion, which to date, Marineland has refused to consider, to work towards a mutual understanding for the future of these orcas.
Several members of the Dolphinaria-Free Europe Coalition have been supporting the Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill in the UK, aimed at protecting captive animals abroad used for entertainment. The Bill has just passed its final stage and when law in England and Northern Ireland, will mean that tour operations such as TUI and Jet2 will be prohibited from advertising facilities abroad to their customers which display captive animals. We will report further once the Bill becomes law.