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Letter to French Deputies

EAAM's President addresses concerns over a proposed bill in the National Assembly affecting zoological parks.

Mr. Deputy,

I am writing to you in my capacity as President of the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) regarding the submission of a bill in the National Assembly by Deputy Laëtitia Romeiro Dias (LREM) on December 14th. This text, on which the Government has already initiated an accelerated procedure, will be examined in public session from January 26th, 2021. As you surely know, the Minister of Ecological Transition also announced her intention to prohibit the reproduction of cetaceans in zoological environments, and evoked a possible transfer of these animals to the sea. These two initiatives jeopardize the existence of recognized zoological parks, without taking into account the educational and scientific contributions they represent, nor the consequences of such measures on the well-being of the animals concerned.

We recommend to:

  • Maintain dolphins housed in existing French zoos that meet strict animal welfare standards;

  • Allow the employees of these institutions to maintain their jobs while pursuing their conservation, research and education missions;

  • and Earmark government funds for the conservation of wild cetaceans.

Opinions differ on the presence of charismatic species in zoological institutions, which deserves a calm public debate. Unfortunately, this debate is skewed by incorrect and misleading statements regularly relayed by a few individuals and organizations opposed to the very principle of zoos. However, most of the criticisms formulated are based on an old vision of what certain "dolphinariums" could be. We fully agree that wild animals should not be used solely for entertainment purposes and that any poor quality facility that does not meet the highest standards and high quality of care should be closed down. Therefore, only zoological parks that meet the missions of conservation, research and education while guaranteeing the well-being of the animals should remain open.

To this end, I am pleased to send you the online version of our new publication: "The Cetacean Protection Debate: Uniting for a Common Cause?" In it, we examine many of the repeated assertions made by a small group of organizations opposed to zoos, and provide informative answers based on relevant scientific studies. We also propose collaboration with all stakeholders in the interest of species conservation.

I am at your disposal to meet you and to bring you any additional information you may require. Thank you for your attention to our point of view.

Please accept the expression of my most respectful greetings.

Dr. Renato Lenzi, President (2020-2022)


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