Today Keith Taylor MEP is attending and speaking at Whale Fest in Brighton, the world’s largest festival about whales and dolphins. Over 10,000 people will come together, over three days, to get involved in events focused on the protection of these marine mammals and to raise funds for the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA).
Keith said: “I am really pleased to be involved with this important event. Whales and dolphins are intelligent beings and we must ensure that there is sufficient protection for these animals in the wild and identify how we can return all captive whales and dolphins to a safe wild environment.”
This is the third Whale Fest to take place and it is part of a five-year plan to create the world’s biggest marine festival – one that will be firmly embedded in Brighton culture.
Keith continued: “I look forward to joining the debate with other political parties about the rights and wrongs of marine mammal captivity. I am proud that the Green party policy calls for an end to the keeping of captive whales and dolphins for commercial purposes and that day must come soon.”
Keith will also be meeting with Orca Aware, an organisation that raises awareness about wild and captive killer whales around the world. As an advocate for animal protection and a member of the EU Tourism Committee, Keith is supporting their campaign to stop travel company TUI facilitating trips to marine mammal amusement parks.
Samantha Lipman of Orca Aware said: “Orca and other dolphin species are too large, wide-ranging, self-aware and intelligent to be confined in any type of concrete tank. Sadly TUI Travel continue to sell tickets to marine parks in the USA and throughout Europe, including Loro Parque in Tenerife where wild caught orca Morgan is being kept for entertainment purposes.
“In the wild these animals are fast swimmers, deep divers and cover vast distances every day. Orcas cannot truly be orcas in captivity so we are calling on TUI to stop facilitating trips to marine mammal displays.”
A petition has now been launched calling on the CEO of TUI Travel UK to stop selling tickets to marine mammal amusement parks. Something TUI Germany has already introduced a policy on.
You can sign the petition on the Orca Aware campaign page.
Keith added: “It is disappointing that animal protection policy does not prevent whales and dolphins being taken from the wild or being bred and kept in captivity. But until such legislation is in place, we need tourism companies to listen to the marine experts and end their involvement with this cruel industry once and for all.
“Whale Fest is a fantastic event to engage people with the wonderful lives of whales and dolphins and I fully support the campaign by Orca Aware to bring about an end to captive marine animals in entertainment.”
Whale Fest is being held at Hilton Metropole in Brighton between 14 – 16 March 2014.
Photo: Sam Lipman / Orca Research Trust