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A statement on the ABTA animal welfare guidelines

Upon reading the ABTA ʻBest Practiceʼ booklet on handling cetaceans in captivity, we found that the guidelines offer little protection for the animals being held captive and have been well structured to suit the interests of the marine animal captivity industry as opposed to the welfare of the animals being held captive. Afer further inspection of the guidelines some serious issues (listed below) have been flagged up.

  • The guidelines fail to acknowledge or address to any depth, the true levels that animals are currently suffering in captivity.

  • The guidelines overlook or diminish strong scientific evidence which may negatively criticize current dolphinaria practices.

  • The guidelines offer no real tangible changes to the welfare of cetacea in captivity in the long term.

  • The standards are based on minimum levels of welfare acceptable

  • The terminology is vague and unspecific, which enables companies to fit the standards to suit their own practices.

  • The guidelines use industry terminology which serves to validate and sugarcoat the true damage caused by the practices ABTA guidelines endorse.

Due to the issues raised above, we believe the ABTA guidelines to be 1) Not fit for purpose. 2) Unfairly biased in favour of maintaining a lucrative industry as opposed to making true improvements to the welfare of wild animals held captive for their lifetimes.


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