Dolphinaria-Free Europe is a European coalition of NGOs and professionals, working together to end the keeping of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in captivity.
We seek greater protection for captive cetaceans through investigation, advocacy and education; members of the coalition share the position that wild animals should not be exploited for human entertainment.

Phasing out cetacean captivity:

  • In March 2016, SeaWorld pledged to end orca breeding at all their current and future parks. This was followed with a ban of the breeding and keeping of captive orcas in the state of California, which will make orca captivity illegal in the state from 1st June 2017. In addition, Baltimore National Aquarium pledged to retire their 7 dolphins to a sanctuary by 2020.
  • Here in Europe the tide is also turning. In 2016, the last dolphinarium in Finland closed due to reduced public attendance and the City Council of Barcelona voted against the construction of a new dolphinarium at Barcelona zoo, in favour of a sanctuary alternative.
  • Most recently, a Decree was passed in May 2017, banning the reproduction of all captive cetaceans in France.


    Following the positive news from France, Dolphinaria-Free Europe plans to write to EU governments calling for a prohibition of captive cetacean breeding. This is also in support of similar efforts being undertaken globally; with the Mexican Senate due to consider a ban on captive breeding in September 2017.

    In addition to writing letters to EU governments calling for a breeding ban, Dolphinaria-Free Europe is also fully endorsing the new #InsideTheTanks documentary, as part of our campaign. You can watch the full documentary at

Dolphinaria-Free Europe:

  • Operates as Europe’s united voice for captive cetaceans
  • Represents leading expertise in cetacean biology and welfare
  • Provides high quality information on the state of captive cetacean welfare in Europe
  • Seeks European legislation that effectively prevents suffering and protects both wild and captive cetaceans from the captive display industry
  • Seeks to ensure all EU Member States have access to knowledge and training to influence and achieve effective enforcement of relevant animal protection law
  • Strives for a change away from keeping cetaceans in captivity in favour of their protection in the wild
  • Works to achieve the highest possible standards of captive cetacean welfare while cetaceans remain in captivity
  • Is associated to the European coalition ENDCAP which seeks greater protection for captive wildlife

Make a promise for freedom

Help us to end the use of cetaceans for public entertainment by pledging to avoid visiting captive dolphin facilities and partaking in dolphin interaction activities. » Take the pledge now

Dolphinaria-Free Europe is a coalition of European animal welfare organisations and wildlife professionals. Please contact us for more information on how to join Dolphinaria-Free Europe and its membership requirements.


  • Alan Knight OBE, International Animal Rescue, United Kingdom
  • Julian Dromgoole, United Kingdom
  • Hanna Michel, United Kingdom
  • Thorbjorn ‘Toby’ Schionning, Anima, Denmark

Dolphinaria ReportEU Dolphinaria, A review of the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity in the European Union and EC Directive 1999/22, relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos (2011)
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