Switzerland has joined Norway, Luxembourg, Slovenia, and Cyprus in banning the captivity of dolphins.
Switzerland’s House of Representatives has voted to outlaw the keeping of dolphins in aquariums or for entertainment purposes. The Senate also banned the future importation of dolphins, meaning that the dolphins living in the country’s only dolphinarium, Connyland, will remain there but will not be replaced when they die.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Mark Palmer, Associate Director of the Earth Island Institute‘sInternational Marine Mammal Project, in an exclusive interview with TakePart. ”The grass roots group Ocean Care deserves a great deal of credit for working on this for many years, working with Ric [O'Barry, of The Cove] in Switzerland. We also think that Ric’s appearance last year during the Bambi Awards, which aired in Germany and Switzerland, and in which he said ‘don’t buy a ticket to these shows’ played a big part.”
In the open ocean, a wild dolphin can live up to 50 years and swim up to 100 miles a day, but dolphins in captivity are limited to and area only 1/10,000 of 1 percent of their natural environment, which greatly decreases their lifespan. Many dolphins develop depression which can even lead to suicide.
The ban in Switzerland was spurred by the death of two dolphins last fall at Connyland. There was public concern that they were killed by hallucinogens thrown into their enclosures after a two-day techno party in the park, but the autopsies proved otherwise. Both dolphins, ages eight and 30, died from brain damage due to an overdose of antibiotics.