France Bans Breeding of Captive Dolphins and Orcas

All “marine circuses” must comply with new rules within six months and expand holding tanks within three years for existing animals.


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This week, the French government passed a ban on the breeding of cetaceans—which includes orcas and dolphins—at all of the country’s marine animal parks. The new legislation also bans acquiring new porpoises, whales, and dolphins and holding them in captivity. Additionally, the ban requires marine animal parks to halt activities wherein people come in direct contact with marine animals, such as swimming with dolphins. Vegan ocean conservation organization Sea Shepherd—which teamed up with four other animal-rights organizations to fight for the ban—praised France’s Environment Minister Segolene Royal for signing the historic legislation. However, Sea Shepherd said in a statement that it would continue to fight for the rights of cetaceans still held in captivity. “For them, we will go to court and continue working on rehabilitation solutions in sanctuaries,” Sea Shepherd said. “But today we think [about] all those who tomorrow will not be born captive.” All French marine parks have six months to comply with the ban and three years to expand holding areas for existing marine animals. Last year, SeaWorld announced that it would end its orca breeding programs after succumbing to pressure from animal-rights groups including the Humane Society of the United States.