The European Association for Aquatic Mammals would like to express its support to the French Zoological Institutions that properly house and care for cetaceans, seeing that their activities have been put at risk by a recent decree driven by an anti-zoo agenda rather than based on scientific knowledge and facts on these animals.
Three years ago, the French Ministry for Environment, assisted by the French National Museum of Natural History began the necessary work with the French Zoo Association to address an obsolete decree governing the care of cetaceans in zoological settings. After several working sessions, the assembly agreed on a document based on accurate/scientific knowledge on cetaceans and the professional organizations, such as those of the European Association for Aquatic Mammals.
In the latest moment the document was changed without the participation of any marine mammal experts and/or professionals being involved! As a result, the new decree includes some dramatic infrastructure changes with a short time line and also bans the breeding of Bottlenose dolphins and Killer whales in our care!
We, as a scientific organization, are concerned that this decree:
Will prevent recognized ‘high standard’ facilities to perform at the best level of activity required for scientific research, public education, and ultimately active conservation.
Will create a cruel and inhumane situation for the animals in our care, by restricting their natural behaviors.
We urge the French government to reconsider this position and consult the professional experts on cetacean welfare from EAAM, EAZA, and AFDPA.