Victory! France Bans Breeding Captive Dolphins and Orcas

In a historic victory for whales and dolphins, France just passed legislation that animal advocates hope will ultimately bring their captivity to an end.

The new legislation bans captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises, with exceptions for bottlenose dolphins and orcas who are already being held in aquariums, including those at Marineland Antibes, but it also bans captive breeding.

“Clearly, this means the end of breeding, trade or import programs, programs that maintain a deadly system, tearing apart the cetacean families that are exploited there. … [t]his French advance is historic,” a coalition of organizations said in a joint statement (via Google Translate).

The new legislation also bans public contact with captive whales and dolphins, which will end programs that allow people to swim with them, and it will require facilities to increase the size of their enclosures if they want to continue operating. Any that do now have six months to come into compliance, and will have three years to expand pools.

“We applaud this decision by the Environment Minister which we hope will lead to the eventual phasing out of captive dolphins and whales in the country,” said Marine Connection Director Margaux Dodds. “[Environment Minister Ségolène Royal] has shown an understanding of the threats to the welfare of cetaceans in captivity and by bringing these new regulations into force and banning breeding, has taken measures to bring about an end to cetaceans being held in captivity – it is a great step forward.”

As the tide of public opinion continues to turn against keeping whales and dolphins in captivity, the industry continues to grasp at justifications for confining them and using them as performers. Yet despite its best efforts to convince the public that captivity is a necessary evil that is supporting education and conservation, more and more people and places continue to turn against it.

Instead, more people are acknowledging that confining these these highly social, intelligent and far-ranging creatures to tanks is inherently cruel and are instead looking for ways to protect marine mammals in their natural environments.

While the announcement from France is a major victory for the anti-captivity movement, animal advocates are continuing to work toward similar changes elsewhere.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Telica R
Telica Rabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing

Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padillaabout a year ago

Yay! About time, these are not medieval times!

Leanne K
Leanne K1 years ago

Why do countries introduce such interminably long phasing out periods?

joan silaco
joan silaco1 years ago


bob P
bob Petermann1 years ago

Thank you France for taking the lead on this issue. Thanks for the article

ANA MARIJA R1 years ago

Thank You, France!! :) Hope other countries follow...

Georgina Elizab M

Good News .Hope other countries follow

Lynne Buckley
Lynne Buckley1 years ago

Good news

Marcia Geiger
Marcia Geiger1 years ago

At last, some good news today!!!!!!!!!!!