Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture has informed the Dolphinarium that it must make improvements. “Not doing it is not an option,” she said in a consultation with the House of Representatives.
During the debate, the Party for the Animals demanded that the Dolphinarium be closed and called the amusement park ‘a circus with a fixed location’. But Schouten does not want to proceed to that yet. ” The Dolfinarium has a zoo permit for an indefinite period. I can’t just withdraw it. ‘
The Zoos Committee believes that dolphins and sea lions are used too much as performers in the shows. This is accompanied by unnatural behavior. According to the inspection report, the presentations do not match current insights into modern zoos.
Offering photo opportunities with sea lions and dolphins is also not acceptable, according to the committee. “This gives children a wrong and unnatural image of the animals.”
There is further criticism on the enclosures of the California sea lions. They offer too little challenge and no or insufficient daylight. The residence of the Steller sea lions does not suffice either: it is old-fashioned.
MP Frank Wassenberg of the Party for the Animals said in the consultation that the Dolfinarium had already received warning or warning in the past and that the minister should no longer have patience. But that is not possible, according to the minister. “I have to offer the Dolfinarium the opportunity to improve the situation. In the meantime, it has also been promised that they will cooperate in consultation with us ”.
In response to the criticism, Taco Rietveld of the Dolphinarium says that animal welfare has the highest priority. He is pleased that the committee also indicates that the level of animal care and training is in order. “Our animal handlers are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for our animals in corona time.”
According to Rietveld, the Dolfinarium has been in close contact with the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality for years and many matters are discussed, including the content of the education and the shows. ” Our new dolphin show Oceanica premiered at the end of last year. It meets all requirements, ” he says.
In the coming period, the Dolfinarium will continue to discuss the other points of criticism in the committee report with the ministry. “Our expectation is that we will also be able to make good agreements about this,” says Rietveld.
He also points out that the Dolfinarium is in dire straits due to the corona crisis. After a two and a half month closure, only a limited number of visitors were allowed each day. Revenues have fallen sharply and significant cutbacks are needed to keep afloat. Major investments have been postponed for the time being.
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