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Parliamentary questions
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20 January 2015
Question for written answer E-000682-15
to the Commission
Rule 130
Keith Taylor (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  Cetaceans in captivity in the EU
 Answer in writing 

Cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) are wide-ranging carnivores, with some species travelling as far as 160 kilometres a day in the wild. They are highly intelligent, social species with species-specific welfare needs.

Thirty-two of the EU’s 33 captive cetacean facilities (known as ‘dolphinaria’) are legally obliged to meet the requirements of Directive 1999/22/EC on the keeping of wild animals in zoos, which state that zoos should:
participate in conservation measures which benefit the species, or exchange information relating to the conservation of the species, or take part in captive breeding for reintroduction into the wild;
raise awareness and educate the public in relation to the biological requirements and conservation of the species;
accommodate cetaceans under conditions which satisfy their biological and conservation requirements, and provide species-specific enrichment and a high standard of animal husbandry.

However, published peer-reviewed studies(1) have indicated that, by their very nature, dolphinaria are unable to meet the complex biological requirements of cetaceans or fulfil their other legal obligations under the directive.

Does the Commission agree that perhaps some species of animals cannot adapt to a life in captivity, and, if so, what guidance is it providing to Member States to ensure that wild animals in zoos are housed in conditions that meet their needs?

(1)Clubb, R. and Mason, G. (2003); Waples, K.A. and Gales, N.J. (2002); Couquiaud, L. (2005).

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