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Parliamentary questions
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13 January 2016
Question for written answer E-000231-16
to the Commission
Rule 130
Igor Šoltes (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  Dolphins in captivity
 Answer in writing 

There are more than 30 dolphinariums in the EU. They operate in 15 Member States and have over 300 whales and dolphins living in captivity. Dolphinariums are currently regulated not only by national laws but also by Directive 1999/22/EC, under which they are required to carry out measures which contribute to the conservation of species and the maintenance of high standards of animal welfare. There are increasing reports, however, that dolphins and whales in dolphinariums are living in conditions which do not meet the required standards. They are kept in areas that are too small for them and are subjected to constant training exercises in which they are forced to perform unnatural movements, all in the name of public entertainment. What is the Commission doing to ensure that dolphin parks comply with EU animal welfare standards? Is it considering banning such parks, as some Member States have already done?

Särkänniemi park in Finland has decided to discontinue its dolphinarium activities, which raises the question of what will happen to the dolphins. I have heard that the dolphins will be transferred to another similar park rather than taken to a rescue centre for rehabilitation before being returned to their natural environment. Is the Commission aware of this case? What does it intend to do to ensure that the appropriate action is taken with dolphins after a dolphinarium closes?

Original language of question: SL 
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