Animal abuse alleged at Dolphinarium in Harderwijk

A dolphin in the Dolphinarium in Hardewijk (Photo: @Dolfinarium/Twitter)A dolphin in the Dolphinarium in Hardewijk (Photo: @Dolfinarium/Twitter)

Television program Rambam is accusing the Dolphinarium in Hardewijk of animal abuse after an employee went undercover as an intern at the institution. According to the employee, the animals are kept too long in small basins, caregivers help the animals masturbate and the chlorine in the water is harmful for them, AD reports.

"A place where people on a stand in a semicircle watch wild animals do tricks in exchange for food", is how Rambam describes the Dolphinarium. For them it is quite obvious: Dolphinarium is a circus and not a zoo, and therefore does not qualify for a license to keep wild animals.

The Dolphinarium responded in a statement on their website. They deny the allegation that they are a circus instead of a zoo, saying that it "lacks any real basis". "The training of animals does not equal a circus approach. Just as equestrian dressage is not a circus activity. The interplay between man and dolphin fits well in all respects within all laws that the Dolphinariam comply with, like all zoos should."

The zoo also denies the allegation that the dolphins are kept in small basins. "The suggestion that the Rambam employee gives that the animals are continuously in three of the seven areas, is absolutely incorrect. By far the larges portion of the day all animals are in the basin DolfijndoMijn, which has about 3 million liters of water over the whole habitat." They are only sometimes kept in the smaller basins for observation. The accusation of harmful chlorine is also unfounded. "A specialized team tests the water habitats in the Dolphinarium daily so that it meets the legal standards."

Emotions ran high on social media after the Rambam broadcast. Many people call for the "underwater circus" to close immediately. Most are disgusted by the caregiver helping a dolphin masturbate, as can be seen in the video below.

Vanavond in #Rambam de veelbesproken uitzending over het Dolfinarium. Zie wat er hier precies gaande is op NPO 3 iets voor tienen!

Geplaatst door RAMBAM op Woensdag 2 maart 2016

This is the second report of sea mammal abuse this week. The carcass of a severely abused porpoise was found in  Sexbierum, Friesland on Tuesday.