The Australian Senate and the RSPCA have both expressed their concerns about dolphin captivity. Why?
A growing body of science suggests that dolphins in captivity suffer physically and mentally. They may undergo stress, disease, and exhibit abnormal behaviour – such as constantly circling their tiny tanks, or bobbing up and down out of boredom.
But don’t just take our word for it. Last week Australia’s peak animal welfare body, the RSPCA, released an updated statement encouraging people to stop visiting marine parks.
“The general public can help safeguard the future welfare of dolphins by refusing to attend marine parks and calling upon politicians to impose a ban on the keeping of cetaceans in captivity,” it states.
The RSPCA is also calling for a ban on captive breeding, saying, “Given bottlenose dolphins are not endangered, there is no justification for breeding these animals in a captive environment.”
Dolphins are extremely intelligent animals with emotional and social needs. They live in complex social groups and can travel over 100km a day. The RSPCA recognises this in its statement, pointing to studies showing captive dolphins suffer “appetite loss, ulcers, and increased susceptibility to disease due to changes in their social grouping, competition over resources and unstable social structures.”
Australia is one of the most vocal nations in the world when it comes to protecting dolphins and whales in the wild. Sadly, captive dolphins don’t enjoy the same support or protection. The RSPCA’s position is an important step towards creating a kinder world for all dolphins in this country.
And the RSPCA is not alone in their views on the issue. Numerous scientists and animal experts including Dr. Jane Goodall have also spoken out against keeping dolphins in captivity, on the basis that it is inherently cruel.
That’s why Australia for Dolphins is putting pressure on the Premier of NSW, Mike Baird, to abolish dolphin captivity in his home state of NSW. This is one of only two states left in Australia that still has dolphins in captivity. So if we can end it here, we will be well on the way to ending dolphin captivity right across the nation.
And that’s great news for the 31 dolphins currently kept in small pools at Sea World on the Gold Coast and Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour – the last two remaining marine parks in Australia.