Judge blocks Dolphinarium animals from moving to China
The relocation of eight dolphins, two walruses and two sea lions from the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk to an amusement park in China cannot go ahead for the time being. This was decided by the preliminary relief judge in an Amsterdam courtroom on Tuesday.
In an emergency procedure heard last week, animal welfare organizations Sea Shepherd and House of Animals asked to block the marine mammals from being moved to the Hainan Ocean Paradise theme park. The judge granted the request on Tuesday.
The animal welfare organizations want to prevent the Chinese amusement park from commercially using the dolphins for entertainment. They do not consider that an improvement in animal welfare. The animals are even worse off if they still have to jump through hoops in China, Sea Shepherd says.
House of Animals founder Karen Soeters was overjoyed by the verdict. "I am incredibly happy with this verdict. On the other hand, I did not expect anything else because there is no other way," Soeters responded. "The park in China sells tickets on the backs of the animals. They're going to perform tricks in China, that's for sure. They're going to places in China where we say it's even worse."
An appellate hearing about the case will be heard on November 23 in Amsterdam about the decision by the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality to grant permission to the Dolfinarium to move the animals. Both Sea Shepherd and House of Animals objected to the plan. The judge believes that the parties should await the decision of this appeal.
"To this end, the preliminary relief judge has considered that the interest of the Dolfinarium in being able to transfer the marine mammals to China before the decision on the appeal weighs less than the interest of Sea Shepherd to await this ruling. In balancing the interests, the preliminary relief judge finds decisive weight to the irreversibility of a possible transfer to China, so the Dolfinarium is not allowed to use the export licenses until a decision has been made on the appeal," the court said in the judgment.
The permit for the relocation of the marine mammals expires on January 9.