Dr. Naomi Rose of AWI attended the launch of a new coalition called Dolphinaria-Free Europe (DFE), on March 4, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Comprised of more than a dozen nonprofit animal charities, DFE seeks to end the display of captive whales and dolphins in the European Union, through science, public outreach, policy change, and the establishment of retirement sanctuaries.
Dr. Rose is serving as an advisor to the coalition and participated in discussions in 2014 leading up to its launch, and in additional strategy and planning sessions on March 7–8, after the launch. She is a member of the DFE management and science committees. The coalition has several supporters among members of the European Parliament, including Keith Taylor, a member of the Green Party representing the United Kingdom.
This year, as last, the documentary Blackfish was screened in Parliament. Following this year’s screening, a group of children from the Devonshire Road Primary School in Bolton, England, came to recite a poem they had written about orcas in captivity. “It was truly an inspiring experience, said Dr. Rose, “to hear these 10-year-olds speak up for the orcas and to see them show such poise as they advocated for the whales’ freedom.”
DFE will continue its work at the European Parliament and in each member country until the more than 300 whales and dolphins currently held captive in the EU are free or moved to sanctuaries.