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The question of the animal condition is today a major concern for the French and the Europeans. Over the last 10 years, dolphins, orcas and many other animal species have been at the centre of debates that are generally sterile, emotional rather than rational, with a context conducive to misinformation and rumours in the face of scientific and factual facts aimed at guaranteeing the health and well-being of animals. On these subjects, French legislation is obsolete, and this is particularly the case for the operating and control rules of modern zoological structures such as Marineland. Since 2020, a review of this legal framework has been undertaken by members of parliament, the process, which is underway, has not yet been completed and ministerial decrees will necessarily have to complete this potential law in order to make it applicable to zoos housing cetaceans like Marineland.
The Marineland marine zoo operates in accordance with the best French and European professional practices. Factually, Marineland is approved and certified by the French authorities on the basis of inspections, by the French Association of Zoological Parks (AFdPZ), the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM), the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), and by American Humane. Factually, Marineland respects the European directive of March 2004 concerning the installations and the rules of operation of the fixed zoological establishments. Fact: Marineland rigorously follows the regulations in force in terms of safety, hygiene and the size of its tanks is well above international standards.
At Marineland, we are convinced that these are important issues that deserve to be seriously debated on a well-founded, scientific basis and within a clear legislative and regulatory framework. We have devoted this space to the latest advances in the proposed Animal Rights Act and to the positions taken by scientists and the largest professional associations of aquariums and zoos in order to combat false information about Marineland and certified zoos.
21 October 2021: The National Assembly and the Senate have reached an agreement in the framework of the joint committee (CMP) on the bill to combat animal abuse and strengthen the link between animals and humans.
22 September 2021: More than 80 ethologists, veterinarians, biologists and scientists from around the world have co-signed an article published in Le Monde reminding us of the essential role of zoological institutions in the study and protection of species, including cetaceans. This article echoes our numerous research projects and pays tribute to the scientific teams, which are rarely in the limelight despite their critical contribution to the knowledge and conservation of species.
April 2021: "I have written this open letter to share some of the essential points of our profession and to fight against certain preconceived ideas about Marineland and certified zoos. Our activity aims above all to raise public awareness of the protection of our environment, to maintain the link between man and animal and to contribute to the essential missions of research and conservation of species. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the keepers, the temporary staff and all the personnel who work at Marineland alongside our animals, and who, every day, whether confined or not, continue their precious work.
March 2021: The European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) has published "The Debate", a booklet aimed at providing accurate information on the care and welfare of dolphins and orcas living in zoos in France. In their homes in European zoos, these dolphins continue to play an important role in education, research and conservation, and will remain within the European ex-situ dolphin conservation programme EEP, managed by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The March 2021 update provides information on the 21 dolphins and 4 orcas currently in the two French zoos: Marineland and Planète Sauvage.
January 2021: "We, the undersigned members of the scientific community, wish to acknowledge the importance of marine mammals in zoos, aquariums, and marine mammal facilities, and express our support for research conducted in these facilities. We know that critical research findings have come from studies of dolphins and related species in controlled environments, which have provided the vast majority of what is known about their perception, physiology and cognition."
2 November 2020: "We are writing to ask you to reconsider your announcement of 29 September 2020 proposing to ban cetacean breeding in French zoos and aquariums. If this decision were to be implemented, the consequences for both in situ and ex situ biodiversity protection actions in France and for the French specialists who carry them out would be negative and likely to compromise the welfare of the animals concerned."
28 January 2022: In a statement, Marineland and many French aquariums recall their role in raising awareness of the preservation of marine biodiversity. They highlight the One Ocean Summit event, a crucial meeting from 9 to 11 February 2022 in Brest to build a reflection on the ocean and the preservation of resources.
Article and list of 24 signatories available below.