Mexico City has just banned dolphinariums (aka “aquariums that imprison dolphins”).
Dolphinariums there including Dolphin Discovery Six Flags Mexico must relocate all the dolphins they hold captive within six months. This good news follows Mexico City’s decision last year to ban dolphin performances as well as cruel “swim-with-dolphins” programs.
Forward-thinking officials in Mexico’s capital already banned animal circuses in 2014, and the country followed suit by banning them shortly thereafter. Mexico City’s example is one that lawmakers in the U.S. and elsewhere should follow.
Dolphins Belong in the Wild, NOT in Chlorinated Prisons
Wild orcas and dolphins live in large, complex social groups and swim vast distances every day in the open ocean. In captivity, these animals can only swim in endless circles in tanks that are the equivalent of bathtubs, and they are denied the opportunity to engage in almost any natural behavior. They are forced to perform meaningless tricks and often torn away from family members when they’re shuffled between parks. Most die far short of their natural life spans.
Thankfully, governments around the world are recognizing that dolphins, orcas, and other cetaceans do not belong in tanks. Chile, Costa Rica, and Croatia all have banned the keeping of cetaceans in captivity. In 2016, the National Aquarium in Baltimore stated that it’s moving forward with its plans to send the eight bottlenose dolphins there to a sanctuary. And earlier this year, the Vancouver Aquarium announced it will no longer keep whales and dolphins in captivity.
SeaWorld Must Empty Its Tanks
While aquariums and marine parks, as well as cities and even countries around the world, are getting with the program, SeaWorld continues to imprison animals, deprive them of freedom of movement, forbid them the chance to establish natural territory and explore, breed and group them as we not they please, and watch them go insane from frustration and loneliness.
We must urge the abusement park to join Mexico City by opening its tanks and releasing the long-suffering animals to seaside sanctuaries where they would live in large areas of the ocean while benefiting from human care for as long as they might need so that they can have some semblance of a life outside prison tanks: