Sale of dolphins to China must be blocked, says PvdD MP

Photo: Depositphotos

Animal rights party PvdD has asked agriculture agriculture minister Henk Slaghouwer to block the sale of eight bottlenose dolphins to a Chinese water park following the publication of a video of the creatures performing tricks.

A promotional video allegedly taken at the Hainan Ocean Paradise waterpark in Southern China and sent to animal rights organisation WAP shows a woman surfing on a dolphin’s snout.

‘One of the conditions set by the minister is that the Chinese adhere to Dutch norms for animal welfare, and that means the dolphins can’t perform tricks which are no longer allowed in the Netherlands. This video shows that this condition will not be met,’ PvdD MP Frank Wassenberg told local newspaper De Stentor.

However, a spokeswoman for the ministry said the conditions that apply to the Dolfinarium marine zoo in Harderwijk, which is selling the animals, are not extended to parks abroad.

Animal activists had called on the government earlier not to give an export licence to the marine zoo to export the animals to the park because they may be used in shows and for breeding.

Then agriculture minister Carola Schouten granted the conditional licence to the Harderwijk marine zoo following a damning report into the conditions at the park, which is struggling with financial problems. The sale also includes two walruses and two sea lions.

She said last year she would not act to block the sale if the Dolfinarium could prove conditions in China would be met.

In a response, director Alex Tiebot said he had no knowledge of the video and that it is up to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) to decide if the rules for the animals’ wellbeing are met.

‘That process is ongoing and the animals will not move to China until we are given the green light,’ he said.

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