(Photo: Ozgur Kesapli, WDCS)Dolphinaria-Free Europe is a European coalition of NGOs and professionals, working together to end the keeping of cetaceans 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.

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

Guiding principles

  • Fundamentally, whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) should not be kept in captivity
  • No cetaceans should be imported into the European Union, exported out of the European Union or transferred between or within EU Member States, unless the individual(s) is travelling for the purposes of rehabilitation and release
  • No germ cells of cetaceans should be imported into the European Union, exported from the European Union, or transferred between EU Member States, for breeding purposes
  • Cetaceans currently in captivity must be housed under conditions that better meet their physical and behavioural needs, until a more appropriate solution for their long-term care can be found
  • Cetaceans currently in captivity must not be used in performance, subject to public interaction or permitted to breed
  • All cetaceans in captive facilities should be assessed for their suitability to enter a rehabilitation and release programme, to be released where possible
  • Suitable locations on EU coastlines should be identified and assessed against specific parameters for the development of cetacean care and rehabilitation centres

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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