MEDIA RELEASE: 14 DECEMBER 2020
CAPTIVE DOLPHIN ENTERTAINMENT COULD COME TO AN END FOLLOWING NSW INQUIRY
Today a NSW Upper House committee report on the use of captive cetaceans for entertainment has confirmed that the industry in NSW is a dying business model, making recommendations that the NSW Government end the breeding of dolphins for commercial purposes, and provide assistance for the feasibility of a sea sanctuary to retire the three remaining dolphins in captive entertainment in NSW.
The committee’s Deputy Chair, Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst, says the report reflects that dolphinariums are an outdated industry no longer supported by the community.
“Today’s report clearly recognises that the use of cetaceans for so called ‘entertainment’ is not accepted in NSW,” said Ms Hurst.
“The Committee has called on the Government to support moves to retire the three remaining captive dolphins who currently reside at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park in Coffs Harbour to a world first sea sanctuary, and to place new restrictions on the breeding of dolphins in captivity, effectively ending their use in entertainment businesses.
“Together these recommendations would effectively end the exploitation of dolphins in NSW and stop ‘abuse-ment parks’ like Sea World setting up in NSW.
“The Committee also recommended additional funding be provided for marine rescue and rehabilitation efforts, transforming NSW from being one of the least to one of the most dolphin-friendly states in Australia.
“These recommendations come off the back of a weight of evidence from animal welfare experts, academics, scientists and the general public, all calling for an end to the exploitation of dolphins in NSW.
“During the inquiry we heard from experts that captive dolphins display aggressive and stereotypical behaviour that is unseen in the wild. These behaviours are evidence of high stress levels in captivity.
“The writing is on the wall- these animals were not born to perform. They do not exist for our entertainment. They deserve a life worth living, and this Inquiry has established that dolphinarium industries can never provide this.
“The Upper House inquiry followed a ban on the use of cetaceans for entertainment in Canada, and the Inquiry heard that Victoria had similar regulations ensuring protection of these animals.
“After so many years of allowing exploitation, it is my hope that the State Government will follow the recommendations of the committee. The recommendations had the support of animal protection groups, as well as the last remaining dolphinarium in NSW.
“No animal should have to spend their life being held captive and forced to perform humiliating tricks for a dwindling number of spectators. Today’s report makes clear that there is cross-party support for better protection laws for dolphins in NSW. It’s time to empty the tanks,” said Ms Hurst.
Summary of report recommendations regarding captive dolphins in NSW:
- That the NSW Government provide support to the Dolphin Marine Conservation Park, Action for Dolphins and World Animal Protection, to enable the completion of a feasibility study into relocating the dolphins at the marine park to a sea sanctuary.
- The NSW Government consider applying limitations on the breeding of cetaceans which allow for breeding or conservation purposes.
- The NSW Government consider providing financial assistance to support marine rescue and rehabilitation work in NSW.
MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792