After several months of discussion between the associations, the French government, delphinariums and the National Natural History Museum, Segolene Royal (the French Minister of Environment) finally took a stand concerning cetaceans by signing an interministerial decree on Wednesday May 3rd.
Published this Saturday May 6th in the Journal Officiel, it replaces the 1981 law in order to propose new standards for the animal well-being and causes a great surprise: one its goals is to forbid the reproduction of orcas and dolphins kept in captivity in France.
Dolphins were not expected to be on the list and were secretly added at the last moment by the Minister. According to the decree:
The reproduction of orcas and dolphins currently held in France is forbidden from now on. Only orcas and dolphins currently and regularly held can be kept without having new births.
This means that parks will not be able to acquire new orcas or dolphins in the future. This announcement is good for the protection of cetaceans held captive in aquatic parks such as Marineland, Asterix Park, Planète Sauvage (Wild Planet), or Moora Dolphin Center.
In greater details, the concerned institutions will have to follow these rules within 3 years:
Stop using chlorine in pools: this measure will end the eye and skin problems experienced by orcas and dolphins.
The minimal pool surface for orcas will be 3500 sqm and 2000 sqm for dolphins, which means an increase of at least 150% compared to the law in 1981 which was 800 sqm. The depth of the pool will now be 11 m for orcas and 6 m for dolphins.
Have specialized caring teams proportional to the number of cetacean.
Forbid contact between the audience and animals: swimming with dolphins will not possible anymore.
Plan surface enrichments for the animals: waves, waterfall and other systems to allow cetaceans to stay entertained and alert.
Stop the animals’ stranding for show.
End the night shows and sound and lighting effect provoking stress among the animals.
“ This decree is a real step forward to end the captivity of cetacean that are used for shows viewed by numerous visitors. It was time to take real measures because it is important to realize that these animals live in conditions that are not in accordance with their real physical and psychological natural needs. Before thinking of the show and viewing pleasure to the benefit of the establishments, we should think about what is right: right for nature and for the living being in front of us. Therefore we welcome this initiative and I would like to call to the public awareness which is first concerned by these show offers, source of numerous animals captivity.
Lisa Rispal, EVI founder.