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Humpback whale underwater

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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

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Boto © Fernando Trujillo

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Orcas at the seabed

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Children give Brussels an anti-captivity lesson

This Wednesday will see the launch event in Brussels of Dolphinaria-Free Europe, a coalition of European animal welfare organisations and wildlife professionals, including WDC.

Invited to take part in activities surrounding the launch are ten pupils from Devonshire Road Primary School in Bolton, UK – apparently the youngest ever visitors to the European Parliament. Their invitation comes from Sajid Karim MEP, and their plan is to take their anti-captivity cause to the heart of European politics.

Their journey started in November 2014 when WDC, along with a number of fellow NGOs, was contacted by teacher Simon Hunt for information that might help with a literacy project he was initiating. Simon had just watched the documentary Blackfish, and had the idea to use the film as his pupils’ stimulus for writing. 

The topic begun at Devonshire Road with the showing of a publicity video of performing orcas at SeaWorld. The children were understandably mesmerised and decided that one day they would love to go and see the performing whales. Their opinions soon changed, however, when they really begun to research the subject and watching clips about how the orcas came to be in captivity. From this they created a poem using extracts from all their work and it is this poem that will be read out by pupils in Brussels at the EU screening of Blackfish this week.

Please watch it here but be warned, it’s emotional!

By taking to social media with their message the children have reached out to many thousands of people, both in the UK and abroad, and touched many hearts. They represent the views of many of their generation and I hope the MEPs they meet listen well to what they have to say.

Good luck Devonshire Road!

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.