Last week, the largest theme park in Europe – Antibes’ Marineland – announced that it is to appeal to the French State Council against former Minister of the Environment Ségolène Royal’s historical decree that recently banned the breeding of captive dolphins and killer whales in France.
"The Minister introduced last-minute modifications in the decree, which upset the overall state of affairs," said a Marineland spokesperson in a public statement Monday 10th July, drawing attention to previously settled negotiations held between state services, animal’s rights associations and Marineland professionals. The park now wants the decree to be rewritten with the collaboration of a recognised scientific committee.
Marineland’s animal keepers first expressed their issues about the edict in an open letter six days after its publication in May. The letter had pointed out inconsistencies in the text and claimed that depriving animals of the right to breed was nonsensical. The law was described as an incoherent text that alters the natural behaviour of animals and therefore was impossible to implement by the park’s management. “If breeding is forbidden, it is now that the abuse begins. Since research has shown that these are very social animals, breeding is the basis of the group’s survival,” continued the park in its letter.
Royal’s new animal rights law aims to improve sea animals’ living conditions in theme and amusement parks. The law features five components: it bans breeding of cetaceans in captivity; forbids direct contact between animals and park visitors; calls for larger basin standards; forbids the use of chlorine; and requires more animal keepers to improve individual care.