Wednesday 08 July 2020 | 27

Open letter for the attention of Barbara Pompili

We are publishing this open letter to Barbara Pompili, our new Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. The long-awaited announcements on animal welfare have still not been made. The hearing in the Council of State on the dolphinarium decree, initially expected to take place tomorrow, 9 July 2020, has just been postponed because the Ministry is making more promises of progress for animals. Meanwhile cetaceans in dolphinariums and individuals held captive in circuses are dying. Urgent steps must be taken.

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Mrs Barbara Pompili
Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy
Hôtel de Roquelaure
244 boulevard Saint-Germain
75007 Paris

Vannes, 8 July 2020

Please accept our heartfelt congratulations on your appointment to the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

We hope that your Ministry will finally be able to set a definitive timetable for the measures announced by your two predecessors on wild animals held in captivity and in particular on dolphinariums, the breeding of animals for their fur and non-domestic animals performing in travelling shows, given that our association was the rapporteur of the group on 'breeding animals for their fur' and took an active part in the group on 'wild animals in travelling shows' and in the one on 'dolphinariums'.

We note your letter of 6 July 2020 to the Council of State relating to the action for failure to fulfil obligations brought against your Ministry on the question of the banning of keeping cetaceans, which is the reason the hearing initially expected to take place on 9 July 2020 was postponed.

We note, under the terms of this additional statement:

  • that at the request of the Prime Minister's Cabinet and following the interministerial meeting of 13 February 2020 you submitted various scenarios relating to measures to be adopted to improve animal welfare,
  • that this process was suspended because of the health emergency,
  • that in the case of cetaceans, however, you still wish to adopt measures to improve their welfare.

Nevertheless we should like certain measures to be adopted as a matter of urgency in order to avoid unnecessary suffering.

1. As regards non-domestic animals exhibited in travelling shows

The recent seizure of the lion renamed Jon and of four lionesses kept by the Cirque de Paris and hand-over to our association revealed the mistreatment to which these animals had been subjected. This case echoes that of the bears Micha, Glasha and Bony, but also that of the lion Elyo/Nal and of the elephant Baby, and before her Maya.This list is by no means exhaustive since many others are suffering from being kept in conditions that are totally unsuitable for their basic needs.

We have sent reports to your Ministry written by scientists who are experts in animal welfare (Prof. Harris, Prof. Broom) arguing for an end to such activities, which do not fulfil the physiological and behavioural needs of these animals. We can provide you with these reports along with the scientific and legal files relating to the individuals that we are defending in judicial or administrative courts.

That is why, pending legislation banning these activities once and for all, we are calling on you to take a decision as a matter of urgency confirming the ban on breeding non-domestic mammals and arranging for them to be seized immediately from establishments that keep them.

2. As regards dolphinariums

Since the decree of 3 May 2017 was revoked by the Council of State owing to a procedural irregularity, the breeding of dolphins has once again been authorized in these establishments.

The situation is extremely worrying.

In fact since January 2020 three dolphins have died in French dolphinariums. Lotty's calf died at Marineland only a few hours after he was born. On 16 June 2020 a dolphin calf died at Planète Sauvage eight days after he was born.

Captive breeding and exchanges of individuals between establishments cause great suffering to these extremely sensitive animals, which are socially complex and have extraordinary cognitive abilities.

It is because of these social and cognitive abilities that in the Declaration of Vancouver of 2012 scientists stated that cetaceans must be deemed to be people and therefore be protected by a number of rights.

In addition, at the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species, the UN recognised that "a certain number of socially complex mammal species, such as several species of cetacean, great ape and elephant, show that they have a non-human culture".

In the light of all these elements we call on you to adopt, as a matter of urgency, a fresh decree banning the breeding, exchange and importing of any new cetacean in French dolphinariums.

Thank you for your attention to this correspondence.

Yours sincerely,

Muriel Arnal
Chair of One Voice

Translated from the French by Patricia Fairey

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In the subject

Ode to Orcas: young people speak out for the release of captive orcas
Birth and death in a dolphinarium – a week in a pool

Comments 27

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

jany | Saturday 25 July 2020

Il serait temps que ce gouvernement se penche enfin sur le sort des animaux de toutes espèces, exploités, martyrisés, écorchés, plumés vifs et tout cela pour de l 'argent et satisfaire la vanité de certains pour soit disant la mode le charme STOP!

Eden | Monday 13 July 2020

quand viendra le jour où les homme d'état avides d'argent réagiront enfin comme des humains et finiront enfin à accepter qu'on rende la liberté à tous ces animaux qui endurent de la maltraitance et malgré ça, pardonner à l'humain, en continuant malgré ses problèmes de santé, d'âge et de nutrition.

Agathe | Sunday 12 July 2020

Inadmissible, insupportable, envie de quitter cette planète si rien ne change

goldiepuppchen | Sunday 12 July 2020

Les politiques sont de plus en plus nombreux et en font de moins en moins !
Ils pourraient faire une heure supplémentaire et étudier les urgences !
Bon nombre de français souhaitent que le Gouvernement fasse enfin le nécessaire en ce qui concerne la condition animale !