Another dolphin dies at Mediterraneo
Foreign organisations have now joined local animal rights NGOs in their campaign against the controversial issue concerning the importation of six new dolphins into Malta.
These NGOs include, International Animal Rescue, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Marine Connection, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, World Society for the Protection of Animals, RSPCA International, The Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society International, Cetacean Society International and Earth Island Institute International Marine Mammal Project.
The local organisations which, are collectively known as CETFREE (meaning Cetacean Freedom) are International Animal Rescue (Malta), Nature Trust (Malta), World Animal Conscience, Moviment Graffiti, Island Sanctuary and Catcare Association. These NGOs are concerned that new regulations were passed rapidly, giving no time for proper consultation, and which lead to the almost immediate import of other dolphins.
The NGOs are also concerned that the dolphins where imported into Malta only a few days after the new laws were enforced. The new laws were passed on the 12th August 2003 whereas the dolphins arrived in Malta on the 30th August 2003. Cetfree wants the Minister for the Environment to rectify the situation with regards to the importation of six new dolphins to Mediterraneo by revising the law and not allowing any further imports of any marine mammals. The NGOs are very concerned that a law that served to protect marine mammals was changed, therefore allowing the import of the dolphins, and asks the authorities to demonstrate that the passing of the new regulations followed the normal procedure required by the Environment Protection Act.
Marineland Ltd, which owns Mediterraneo, has already imported four dolphins in the past and only one survived! The third death was very recent, but Mediterraneo has not yet announced it and Cetfree cannot verify even when it occurred. Moreover, Cetfree also stated that it is inconsistent for the authorities to try to protect wild dolphins in Maltese waters if they are not also going to protect wild dolphins in other regions, which they are not doing if they allow trade to Malta.
Finally, Cetfree also stated that there is no EU Directive that obligates Malta to change the marine mammal protection regulations to allow the importation of other dolphins. It further mentioned that the only directive applicable is the Zoo directive, which is not yet implemented and if it were, Mediterraneo would not have been in a position to import the six dolphins before it was fully compliant!
Cetfree is pleased with the support coming from international NGOs representing millions of members and once again urges the Minister to fully commit to protecting ceteceans throughout all regions by banning any further trade into Malta and implementing the laws to protect dolphins in captivity.