Spain is the European country with the most dolphins in captivity: a young woman collects 150,000 signatures for her liberation | climate and environment

Animal rights activist Olivia Mandel, 16, delivered Thursday in the House of Representatives More than 150,000 signatures Collected by the request to ban the capture of dolphins in Spain, accompanied by the organization Animal protection in the world And a group of scholars supporting it. “We ask the Spanish government to issue a law to ban dolphins in Spain, as other countries have already agreed to,” said the young woman. With 10 of these facilities, Spain has more than a third of the dolphinariums in Europe and More than 33% of all captive dolphins are on the continentIt is the sixth largest prison for dolphins and cetaceans in the world.

Spain is not a country for dolphins

The last Animal Welfare Act approved in March 2023 left dolphins aside. For this reason, we are asking MPs to amend and prohibit the capture and breeding of cetaceans in captivity,” he adds, speaking with this paper, of a regulation that continues to allow the possession, exchange and breeding of animals in captivity and to support not only the possession of cetaceans, but their use in shows. “We are asking for closures. The progressive dolphinarium in Spain. That they are rediscovering themselves, for example, in marine reserves where those who were once deprived of them are taught to live freely. We want the current generation to be the last of cetaceans to be born, grow, live and die in captivity,” he continues. “But the most urgent thing is to put an end to displays and forced breeding.”

Mandel began her campaign against cetacean captivity in Spain more than two years ago, when she was just 14 years old. In March 2020, the young activist launched her first campaign in change.orgWith the aim of freeing the three dolphins that were still in Barcelona Zoo and moving them to a marine reserve. In just five months, it has collected more than 56,000 signatures. However, to my great regret, they were transferred to another zoo, the one in Athens. “This sad result did not make me give up, but rather gave me more strength to launch my current campaign: For the end of the Dolphinarium in Spain #noesCountryforDolphins,” says the young woman.

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“Now, I am asking the Spanish government to do what other countries have already done. They realize that dolphins and other cetaceans are animals with high social intelligence, and need their society to develop independent, self-conscious beings, who are willing to make their own decisions about what they do and where they go,” he concludes. . With over 100 cetaceans in captivity, among the 3,000 found worldwide, Spain is the country with the largest number of specimens in captivity in Europe and one of the first in the world, only behind countries such as China, the United States and Russia.

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Dolphin suffering

“We want to stop the suffering of these very intelligent creatures who should enjoy their natural habitat,” denounced Sandra Campinas, director of the Global Campaign for Animal Protection in Spain. “Dolphins are very social and intelligent animals and suffer greatly in captivity. There are currently 100 captive dolphins in our country, each spending up to 50 years suffering for the purposes of human entertainment. A tank is, on average, a smaller b 200,000 times the normal range of a dolphin in the wild and you’ll never come close to the richness of life in the ocean.”

For all these reasons, World Animal Protection joined Mandle this Thursday to demand that Spain follow the example of several countries that have already banned cetacean shows. Like France, which sanctioned the scheduled disappearance of captive dolphins into its law against animal abuse in 2021; Canada, which in 2019 passed a law known as Frey Willy Law (in honor of the 1993 film), which ensures that the current generation is the last of cetaceans to live in captivity; And Mexico, which is taking steps at the legislative level in the same direction.

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These countries join others such as Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, Nicaragua, Slovenia and Switzerland, where cetacean displays are prohibited. and for others such as Brazil or the United Kingdom, where the requirements in the legislation to be able to keep cetaceans in captivity are such that it is practically impossible to do so.

“At the 1989 Paris Exposition, indigenous people were shown in cages. In the old circus, elephants were chained. But things are changing, and it is time for us to open our eyes and start building ourselves on knowledge and respect for animals.” Bruno Diaz, a scientist with over 20 years experience as a cetacean researcher. “Dolphins are highly cognitive animals, and they need to explore, discover, play, and change environments… They cannot meet their social needs in a cage. Nor their physical needs. They are animals that swim up to 240 kilometers a day. Imagine you swim 240 kilometers a day In a 400-square-meter pool… captivity ends up being psychological torture,” he explains, in a conversation with this newspaper, about the psychological consequences of captivity in dolphins.

Other effects, both psychological and physical, depend on the care of each water park. From exercise, from diet … But in the end nothing is normal, because they don’t choose how they move or what they eat, “he emphasizes. “Just because dolphins don’t die in a dolphinarium, as sardines do in a red aquarium, doesn’t mean they’re okay there. Diaz concludes with a rhetorical question: “Is the deprivation of the basic needs of a species like the bottlenose dolphin justified for the benefit of a few people?”

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Money and rudeness

Campinas, of World Animal Protection, focuses on the cash issue: “Captivity is still a multi-million dollar business, and there’s a lot of money behind it.” He notes that a captive dolphin can cost between 400,000 and 2 million euros a year, depending on the country and the number of shows. according to study Of its 2019 organization, there are 355 dolphinariums in 58 countries, and 93% of those facilities put on shows with dolphins and other cetaceans.

for this Campaign Manager organized, Awareness of the population on this issue is essential. “In the UK, the last dolphinarium was closed 30 years ago. But the British, when they come to Spain for tourism, attend these shows, and this cannot be, ”he explains. “People go to the dolphinarium because they love dolphins, because they love them, thinking that dolphins are okay there. There is a lot of ignorance, ”he continues. He suggests alternatives to these forms of leisure: “Now there are thousands of possibilities to see dolphins in their natural habitat. Sanctuaries, for example, as well as organized excursions to see these animals in the sea, for free.

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