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RSPCA welcomes NSW cetacean captive breeding ban

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  • RSPCA Australia
  • Friday, 26 February 2021
Today the NSW Government has moved to ban the breeding of dolphins for commercial purposes – good news! 
The RSPCA has long advocated for an end to captive breeding of dolphins for entertainment in Australia.
The regulation, made under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, prohibits the breeding or importation of cetaceans (which includes dolphins, whales, orcas and porpoises) for anything other than genuine scientific, education or conservation purposes. 
The RSPCA opposes the keeping of species for public exhibition where their needs can’t be adequately met in a captive environment. The evidence shows that dolphins, and other cetaceans, simply can’t have these needs met in an environment like an amusement park. 
Dolphins are highly intelligent creatures with highly developed cognitive abilities, problem solving skills and language capabilities. Studies have also shown that dolphins in captivity can suffer stress that results in appetite loss, ulcers, and increased susceptibility to disease because of changes in their social grouping, competition over resources and unstable social structures. 
Along with a greater awareness of the welfare risks associated with the use of animals in tourism, the community has been particularly concerned in recent years about dolphins in captivity. We’ve seen attendances at marine shows in other parts of the world decline and aquariums and oceanariums, including in Australia, cease the breeding of cetaceans in captivity. At the moment, there’s only one remaining facility in Australia that is continuing to breed dolphins in captivity. 
So this is a positive step for animal welfare, and one we support. Thanks to the NSW Government for listening to the science and the community. 
For more information, visit the RSPCA Knowledgebase or the 2019 research report: The welfare of dolphins in captivity 
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