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Bottlenose dolphins © Christopher Swann

On the anniversary of the massacre of 1,423 dolphins, what’s changed?

One year ago today, 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, including mothers with calves and pregnant females,...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
A dolphin plays in front of the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay

Sharing our Spey Bay stories – tell us yours

2022 is Scotland's Year of Stories, a year in which stories inspired by, created or...
Orcas in Australia

Did orcas help rescue entangled humpback whale?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
An orca named 'Hulk' off Caithness, Scotland

My amazing week watching orcas in Scotland

Orca Watch's 10th anniversary event in the far north of Scotland was exhilarating with a...

Faroes dolphin hunt review – disappointing is an understatement

I wasn't alone in hoping that substantial changes would be made as a result of...
Minke whale - V Mignon

We told them this would happen! Time to halt cruel whale experiments

An ill-conceived and so far ill-fated joint US/ Norwegian experiment to test minke whales' reaction...
Sponging dolphin in Shark Bay

Dolphins who catch fish with shells

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...

Will Carnival follow Thomas Cook and drop cruel dolphin ‘attractions’?

You may remember that at the end of June, WDC was invited to Miami to present to senior executives at the Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company. We used the opportunity to highlight the serious welfare concerns we have for the dolphins that are made to perform for cruise ship passengers in various ‘swim-with’ programmes throughout the Caribbean and Mexico.

We had a positive reception from Carnival as we got your message across that whales and dolphins are just totally unsuitable for life in a tank. We presented the research that proves just how cruel these often overcrowded, shallow facilities can be for these most social and sentient creatures.

The timing of our meeting couldn’t have been better as the previous day I’d been in London for the launch of the world’s first whale sanctuary – the natural sea pen home that the SEALIFE Trust is creating, in partnership with WDC, for two captive beluga whales. With the launch of our sanctuary, the solution that has been talked about for so long is finally becoming a reality. Sanctuaries are much-needed places where ex-captive whales and dolphins can be retired to open water ocean pens. Some individuals may even be suitable for release. We discussed our plans and our vision and invited Carnival to get involved with supporting these initiatives.

Carnival is a huge player in the cruise ship industry and operates ten different brands, including household names such as P&O Cruises and Cunard.  When we knew we had a seat at ‘the top table’, we weren’t going to miss our opportunity to drive your message home. But we are realistic enough to know that change won’t come overnight, and so our approach is one of evolution rather than revolution. Carnival’s influence is huge in the industry and where they go in terms of policy and responsible tourism surely others will follow?

Carnival has agreed to expedite the audit of all the marine parks and swim-with-the-dolphins ‘attractions’ it works with and this is very much at ‘first steps’ stage. Some of the things we urged Carnival to consider when it reviews the audit results include a pledge not to take on any new suppliers, a commitment not to work with any facility that continues to source dolphins from the wild and also for Carnival to make a public statement in support of sanctuaries for the retirement and/or release of ex-captive dolphins.

Some of these important milestones are in line with what you’ve already helped us achieve when we’ve influenced the policy decisions of other tour operators such as Thomas Cook and Virgin Holidays.

We’ll follow up with Carnival on the meeting later this summer and Carnival’s audits should be complete by the end of 2018. We will keep you up-to-date with any and all developments as we encourage Carnival to do the right thing and implement meaningful welfare policy to significantly improve the lives of the dolphins held in the facilities it promotes, with a view to eventually phasing out its support of captive dolphin ‘attractions’ altogether.