France is another country that just banned dolphin and whale breeding because of the cruel way it is done! This is really a huge step forward!
In a huge blow to keeping intelligent marine mammals in tanks, France just made a historic decision to end all captive breeding of dolphins and whales too. After learning that the captive dolphins and whales get drugged, Environment Minister Segolene Royal amended the legislation she signed last Wednesday. It already banned direct contact between animals and the public (like petting the animals and also swimming with dolphins). It also required holding tanks to be much bigger, to actually phase out captive breeding.
“I think this is really a fantastic development,” says Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist with the Animal Welfare Institute.
The news came quite as a shock to the association of French zoos. They complained that the government did not consult them before passing these new regulations. They are also calling this as the beginning of the end of marine mammal shows in the whole country. Jon Kershaw, who is the head of the controversial marine park Marineland Antibes, calls this ban a “bombshell”.
The park on the French Riviera was home to orca Freya. She actually died in 2015 of an undetermined illness. After getting caught as a baby off the coast of Iceland in the early 80s, Freya was forced to breed over and over. She gave birth to four stillborn calves and just one who actually survived.
Controversy also sparked when, after the extensive flooding in the south of France, tanks at Marineland became filled with some mud. Freya’s son, a 19-year-old orca named Valentin, died shortly after this flooding. Just four months after his beloved mom died too. Some people believe he died from complications related to these muddy tanks.
The ban on breeding will take effect in just six months, according to Rose. “We all must remain vigilant and also ensure the conditions of the decree get implemented according to law,” she says. “It is yet another sign of the positive change in society’s perceptions of these species in captivity all over the world”.