Discussing dolphins with the Hon. Bob Carr

Jul 16, 2018 by afdadmin
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The Former Premier of New South Wales, the Honourable Bob Carr, launched his political memoir, ‘Run for your Life’ this week. He’s dedicated an entire chapter to dolphins.

AFD’s Public Engagement Officer, Hannah Tait, attended the book launch and sat down with Mr. Carr afterwards to chat about his work phasing out dolphin captivity in NSW, and new dolphin protection legislation he hopes to see introduced in Australia.

Bob Carr and AFD’s Hannah Tait at the book launch in Sydney.

Bob Carr has been instrumental in implementing dolphin protection legislation in NSW. In 1986 he brought the National Parks and Wildlife (Marine Mammals Protection) Amendment Act into Parliament, which made it illegal to capture dolphins from the wild and keep them in captivity.

Since then, he has continued to work in parliament and with AFD to phase out dolphin captivity in Australia.

Bob Carr speaking to a large crowd at his book launch.

Bob Carr’s book launch was busy with people who supported his long and successful political career. Many spoke about both his book, and work, with admiration. Following the launch, I sat down with Mr. Carr in his office to ask a few questions about his memoir. Hanging up behind him as he spoke were two photographs, one of a beach and one of a rainforest. It is very clear that he is a passionate animal welfare advocate and environmentalist.

Interviewing Bob Carr in his office.

My first question was to do with the title of his chapter dedicated to dolphins, ‘Better Humans Than We’. I asked Bob what he meant by this intriguing title. He explained that when he was a young politician and bringing dolphin protection legislation into Parliament, he didn’t argue for it because of their intelligence, instead he said, “the argument to use, is their capacity to suffer”. He went on to explain that for him, humanity is lacking when we inflict suffering onto another species for the sake of entertainment and profit.

For the five remaining dolphins in captivity in NSW, Bob hopes they’ll be retired to a sea-pen sanctuary, an environment where they will have the opportunity to feel the ocean. According to Bob, “we need to get over the idea that dolphins, even those which are rescued, can still be confined in these small pools”. Moving forward, Bob hopes to see the end of dolphinariums in Australia. He is calling on Australia to lead the way by establishing a dedicated sanctuary.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Mr. Carr and discussing the future prospects of phasing out dolphin captivity in Australia. It was refreshing to hear a former politician speak so passionately about the issue of animal welfare – a topic that’s relegated to the parliamentary sidelines all too often.