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Theme park can’t claim it protects dolphins says commission

Bottlenose dolphin in captivity

A captive dolphin facility in the Netherlands has been told by the country’s advertising watchdog that it can not continue to use the slogan ‘Discover, Experience and Protect’ in its promotional material. 

Dolphin Park in Harderwijk had been using the wording to help sell tickets and so implying that sales helped protect the dolphins it holds and in the wild. However, following a complaint by a local animal welfare group, the advertising commission agreed that there is nothing to show that the facility is actively contributing to the protection of the dolphins in its tanks.

Harderwijk has recently said it would be concentrating more on education and welfare but has also been criticised for potentially seeking to sell on the eight dolphins in its care (plus two walruses and two sea lions) to a Chinese zoo, Hainan Ocean Paradise, a facility whose welfare standards have been called into question.

Keeping whales and dolphins in tanks for human entertainment is cruel. These intelligent creatures would roam for miles each day in the wild but in captivity they are imprisoned. In confinement they suffer stress causing repetitive behaviour, and live shorter lives than they would in the ocean. It is for these reasons that we are encouraging people not to go to see these shows and are asking tour operators like TUI not to promote them to customers.

We are continuing to work towards a phase-out of whale and dolphin captivity. An alternative to life in a concrete tanks would be ocean sanctuaries, where the intelligent and social marine mammals can live in a more natural environment and in some cases be prepared for a release back into the wild. Last year two captive beluga whales from China were brought to Iceland into the first sanctuary of its kind established by SeaLife Trust in cooperation with WDC.


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