Dolphins won a major victory this month with Switzerland’s newly announced import ban on captive dolphins for zoos and marine parks.
Even though the deaths of two dolphins following a rave at Connyland dolphinarium last year were caused by antibiotics and not poisoning, the incident sparked outrage and debate about keeping these intelligent and sensitive cetaceans in captivity.
Liberal Green Isabelle Chevalley introduced the ban on captive dolphins and was assisted by Sea Shepherd Switzerland and the Swiss Cetacean Society (SCS) in introducing her motion. The House passed a ban on captivity, but the Senate rejected it and instead enforced a ban on importing dolphins into Switzerland.
Ocean Care, a Swiss non-profit group, which had been working on this issue and had previously pursued criminal proceedings against Connyland, in addition to working with the Cove’s Ric O’Barry in Switzerland, welcomed the decision, reports Reuters.
Only three dolphins remain in captivity in Switzerland at Connyland, a mother and her two calves, but they still have the Sea Shepherd and SCS worried about their futures with the park reopening and shows resuming March 31.
“In the debate over marine mammals in captivity, the public display industry maintains that marine mammal exhibits serve a valuable conservation function, people learn important information from seeing live animals, and captive marine mammals live a good life. However, animal protection groups and a growing number of scientists counter that the lives of captive marine mammals are impoverished, people do not receive an accurate picture of a species from captive representatives, and the trade in live marine mammals negatively impacts populations and habitats. The more we learn of marine mammals, the more evidence there is that the latter views are correct,” according to the WSPA.
Fortunately, more people are becoming aware of the plight of captive whales and dolphins and drawing the conclusion that abducting these animals from their close-knit family groups in the wild, confining them to small chemical-laden tanks, forcing them to perform ridiculous tricks to earn their food and significantly shortening their lives is cruelty and not educational or entertaining.
Bans on keeping dolphins in captivity are already in place in Norway, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Cyprus.
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