To whom it may concern,
Re: Kellogg’s promotion of Dolphin Marine Magic in ‘Grown Ups Go Free’ offer
I am writing on behalf of Australia for Dolphins (‘AFD’), a not-for-profit animal welfare organisation, to request Kellogg’s remove Dolphin Marine Magic as a partner in the current ‘Grown Ups Go Free’ promotion.
Dolphin Marine Magic has been the subject of mounting negative media attention over the last year. There are strong animal welfare concerns for dolphins at this park (please find some of the park’s legal compliance issues outlined in The Australian here). Moreover, research suggests the majority of Australians oppose dolphin captivity on principle.
Studies have shown dolphins can travel more than one hundred kilometres a day in the wild and have complex social structures. In captivity these needs cannot be met due to forced interaction with people, as well as limited space to move. Critically acclaimed documentaries such as Blackfish have added to growing public sentiment that cetaceans cannot be kept in captivity humanely.
Despite the fact that dolphins are not endangered animals and captivity does not aid the species’ conservation, the majority of dolphins at Dolphin Marine Magic have been deliberately bred for the sole purpose of entertainment. The cost of this breeding program was seen late last year when the park’s youngest dolphin, Ji Ling, died of unexplained causes just shy of his second birthday. Four months on, the marine park has yet to provide any public explanation or official necropsy results in relation to the death.
We note also that Dolphin Marine Magic’s “star” performer is a very elderly dolphin called Bucky. Bucky is in his nineties in human years and in remission from cancer. Bucky’s continued use in multiple shows per day has contributed to ongoing public criticism of the park.
Public and political opposition to dolphin captivity
A 1985 Australian Senate Select Committee Report concluded dolphins inevitably suffer stress and high mortality in captivity. This expert report recommended dolphin captivity be phased out in Australia as soon as possible.
Dolphin captivity has already been banned, or legislative reform to ban cetacean captivity is already underway, in a growing number of countries including the UK, Switzerland, Canada, India, and the US. It is inevitable that Australia will follow suit in the same direction in the not too distant future.
In December 2015 former NSW Premier Bob Carr voiced his opposition to the Dolphin Marine Magic marine park, and announced intentions to pursue legislation to end dolphin captivity in Australia in 2016.
Public polling suggests most Australians do not support dolphin captivity. This reflects global trends across the majority of OECD nations. For example, SeaWorld, the major marine park chain in the United States, reported significantly lower attendance rates and an 84% drop in profits this financial year.
Australia for Dolphins would like to respectfully request that Kellogg’s end its affiliation with Dolphin Marine Magic.
If Kellogg’s decides to continue with the Dolphin Marine Magic affiliation, this will signal that the brand is not serious about animal welfare.
Thank you for considering our request.
Advocacy Director | Australia for Dolphins