No Dolphinariums in Europe: June 28 Demo Gives Dolphins Hope for Freedom

By Kirsten Massebeau

Demo Banner by Sasha Alazy

Demo Banner by Sasha Alazy

Demonstrators opposing dolphinariums and captive facilities in Europe are organized and ready to go! On June 28, 2013 they will gather in Brussels with a loud and clear message to Europe demanding closure of all captive facilities. According to the demonstrators captive facilities are in direct opposition to the law:

The European Council Directive 1999/22/EC on the keeping of wild animals in zoos requires that animals must be kept in conditions that meet their biological and conservation requirements. Yet in the case of cetaceans, it is impossible for these requirements to be met in captivity. Because no tanks, no lagoons as big as they can be, could ever replace the freedom of swimming in the immensity of the ocean (source).

Marineland Antibes

Marineland Antibes dolphin show

Today there are 34 captive facilities and 286 cetaceans in captivity in Europe. Those countries include:Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. “WDCS anti-captivity lead, Cathy Williamson states, these commercially driven, circus-style shows may seem like fun but the truth is much sadder”. Ric O’Barry of the Dolphin Project describes captivity as a life of silence and isolation: “Most captive dolphins are confined in minuscule tanks containing chemically treated artificial seawater. Dolphins in a tank are severely restricted in using their highly developed sonar, which is one of the most damaging aspects of captivity. It is much like forcing a person to live in a hall of mirrors for the rest of their life – their image always bouncing back with no clear direction in sight”(source).

25% of the cetacean population in captive facilities in Europe were obtained from a wild source meaning capture or strand while the captive born dolphins are being bred from small breeding pools. According to born free these facilities breeding pools are unsustainable which will force dolphinariums to purchase wild dolphins: “The captive population is unsustainable. Captures of wild dolphins for captivity still goes on in some parts of the world.

Bottlenose dolphins have last moments together before being dragged to slaughter.  By SSCS C.G. 1.20.13

Bottlenose dolphins have last moments together before being dragged to slaughter.
By SSCS C.G. 1.20.13

The danger remains that if the number of dolphinaria in the EU remains the same or increases that attempts may be made by dolphinaria to import further wild-caught dolphins into the EU which contradicts EU law, too” (source)

Two long time dolphin advocates in Europe Yvon Godfroid and Annelies Mullens could see the unsustainable situation, and the terrible dolphin suffering taking place in captive facilities throughout Europe and worldwide. Independent of all groups they decided to organize a demonstration. They realize that the hunt in Taiji and other places will never end as long as dolphinaria exists. They realize that as long as dolphinaria exists the dolphin hunt will go on.

As dolphins don’t thrive good in captivity the dolphinaria will need “fresh” genes so the dolphin hunt will go on. They have the principle that before throwing stones at other countries you have to clean up your own backyard first. So in order to stop the dolphin hunt they will fight the dolphinaria in Europe (source)

European Demonstration Brussels

European Demonstration Brussels

How can you help the dolphins and get involved in the Belgium Demonstration? Join Ric O’Barry and attend the event in Brussels! You can sign up on Facebook: Demonstration against Captivity of Cetaceans in Europe! If you are not in Europe and cannot attend the even you can still be a voice for the dolphins and support the demonstration by making a donation no matter how small or large to the Europe Must Ban Dolphinaria Demo. You can find more information on the actual demo at: For a Delphinarium-free Europe!!! You can also sign the petition All dolphinaria must be closed in Europe!!!


Dolphin freedom is so worth fighting for. Together we can make a difference.

11 thoughts on “No Dolphinariums in Europe: June 28 Demo Gives Dolphins Hope for Freedom

  1. KING OF AQUARIA says: “I wish you so-called ‘animal rights’ activists would STOP harassing aquaria and oceanaria and channel your efforts to stop the wholesale slaughter of dolphins in Japan. Captive cetaceans are ‘ambassadors’ for their species and receive better care than most humans! ‘Nellie’ just turned 60 at Marineland of Florida and ‘Lolita’ will be celebrating 43 years with the Miami Seaquarium – that should speak volumes regarding their care in captivity! You are putting many people out of work with your pointless demonstrations.

    • Dolphin have brains as large as mans, their children develop at the same rate of age as humans. Families live in pods and stay together for a lifetime. They have language and culture. Sadly man’s greedy nature has driven people to keep our ocean counterparts imprisoned forced to work for their food, children forced to have babies when they are too young and then babies ripped from their mothers sides.They live in concrete tanks that are silent of the oceans sounds and Rhythm. The emotional center of an orca’s brain is larger than mans and not yet understood.
      I want to encourage you to watch a film a few films so you can learn the truth about captivity. There is a place in Japan called Taiji. It is featured in a movie called, “The Cove” that the academy award for best picture. This film uncovers the terrible and cruel captures and slaughters of dolphins. The dolphins are driven into a shallow cove. Once netted off trainers arrive on skiffs with the killers. Together, trainers and killers select the young females. They are ripped from their mothers sides and will be trained and sold to marine parks and dolphinariums world wide. Then the elderly, infants, males, or just couldn’t handle it are slaughtered. One by one they pushed under the blue tarps of shame where a stake is driven into their spine behind the blowhole. Bamboo plugs are then pushed into the wounds so the blood won’t go into the water prolonging their suffering. The dying process lasted up to 8 minutes of thrashing and suffering as revealed by Dieter Hagmann in his undercover video. The flesh is then processed and sold. The captives are trained and sold to aquariums for around $150,000 dollars for a trained dolphin. These dolphins spirits are broken with food deprivation. Not all make it though. They watched their parents, aunts and uncles murdered and swam in their blood. Many go from the captive pens to the slaughter house as well.
      I encourage you to watch as I said, “The Cove”, “A Fall From Freedom” and of course newest release “Blackfish”. Also their is a fantastic book out by David Karby called “Death at SeaWorld”.
      I think my idol Jacque Cousteau says it best:
      No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal. permalink
      Jacques Cousteau
      Jacques Cousteau: “There’s about as much educational benefit studying dolphins in captivity as there would be studying mankind by only observing prisoners held in solitary.”
      Instead of criticizing Join the international Empty the Tanks protest on June 27th and of course the protest in Belgium on June 28th.
      Be part of the solution! Together we can make a difference for dolphins. Let them be free!

    • Did you ask dolphins if they wanted to be “ambassadors” ? How many dolphins jumped by them selves in a pool for so-called “cares” ? Nellie is a rare exception. At Sarasota Bay and at Shark Bay, they are many dolphins female aged of 65 years old, and males aged of more than 50. For one Lolita (whose mother is stil alive !), how many orcas died before they even were 20 ? How many orcas are reaching 100 years old in captivity ?
      Stop telling lies and see the truth : SeaWorld and all aquatic jails are just money machines, out of dated circuses. Our “pointless démonstrations” will destroy your bloody market. It’s just a question of time. We’ll never stop. And we’ll win.

  2. Pingback: Help Dolphins on Ocean Day! Support European Dolphin Demonstration for Freedom | Champions for Cetaceans

  3. A big thanks for great this article !! Just a detail : I’m fighting against dolphin captivity only for more or less 20 years. It’s Ric O’Barry who fights for 43 years ! : – )

  4. Pingback: No Dolphinariums in Europe: June 28 Demo Gives Dolphins Hope for Freedom | Kirsten Writes

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