The Captive Animals Protection Society is urging the public to boycott dolphinariums with performing whales and dolphins when they go on holiday. The request comes after CAPS Director Diane Westwood visited the Vancouver Aquarium on a recent trip to British Columbia, Canada. The Vancouver Aquarium has one orca (killer whale), a dolphin and a group of beluga whales, which perform tricks for the public.
Diane Westwood said:
"We have no performing whales and dolphins in the UK thankfully. It was shocking to see such a magnificent animal as a 'killer' whale kept in such a barren artificial environment. Some of the visitors to the Aquarium were British tourists. I hope that I can persuade them not to support such institutions.
"Whales and dolphins are extremely intelligent animals. They live in social groups. Animal welfare groups agree that whales suffer physically and psychologically in captivity. Their small artificial pools with its chemically altered water could never replicate the sea.
"Captive whales are often deprived of the family unit that they would live within in the wild. These factors have an effect and as a result the life span of orca in captivity is much shorter than that of wild orca. Captive orcas are taught to perform on cue and are forced to endure a life of public scrutiny. Studying whales in this environment teaches nothing about wild orca as their lifestyles are so dramatically controlled and altered by man.
"Since 1965, 56 orcas have been captured from the waters around BC and Washington State, including one whole family. 54 are now dead, living on average 5.2 years once captured. The impact on the wild populations is only now being recognised. The entertainment industry has ignored the devastation it has left behind.
"I was fortunate enough so see wild killer whales - one swam under the inflatable that I was on. The way to see whales is in the wild through responsible tourism, not in a concrete tank in an aquarium."
CAPS would like to see all dolphinariums closed. The public can help by boycotting dolphinariums wherever they are and asking family and friends to do otherwise. We would like to see all captive whales and dolphins released to the wild, after long term rehabilitation and retraining has been carried out. We would like to see an end to the breeding of cetacea (whales and dolphins) in captivity. There is absolutely no need for this. We wish to see an end to the capture of whales and dolphins from the wild.