To be delivered to: 
Ministry of the Environment
Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Warsaw
Veterinary Inspectorate for Masovian District

Petition to stop dolphinarium in Mszczonow

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take all necessary actions are taken to stop the construction of the first captive dolphin holding facility in Mszczonow, Poland.

Dolphinarium in Mszczonow is an investment that will place Poland among countries which obtain financial gain from the suffering of intelligent and sensitive animals for entertainment and educational purposes as well as under the false pretence of a greater good, i.e. Dolphin-Assisted Therapy (DAT). Meanwhile, performance shows conducted in similar facilities bring almost no educational value[1] and constitute merely an aquatic circus. It has also been established that there is no credible scientific evidence confirming the effectiveness of DAT[2][3] and numerous DAT practitioners admit that the sole purpose of such programs is to receive money from determined parents of sick children[4].

No dolphinarium can provide conditions, which will enable dolphins to have a healthy life and ensure their well-being. In captivity, those animals experience physical and mental suffering due to limited living space, continuous noise of music and water-filtering equipment, harmful chemicals in the water and lack of stimulation. Food is being withheld from them to force them to perform. In the wild, dolphins create extensive social relations within their relatives, while groups in dolphinaria are composed of random, unrelated individuals. Young dolphins are taken from their mothers too early for them to learn proper social interactions which later results in aggression towards their companions and human caretakers. Bored and stressed animals often suffer from stress-induced diseases, such as ulcers and lowered immunity as well as present stereotypical behavior and apathy. In order to keep them performing, it is a common practice to give them invasive medication, included psychotropic drugs.[5] Above mentioned issues significantly affect well-being of animals both taken from the wild and born in captivity (regardless whether animals in question are from the first or the second captive generation), as they relate to dolphin’s genotype and behavior, it’s natural instincts and needs.

According to declarations of the investor, facilities in Lithuania and Moscow were consulted to establish appropriate living conditions for captive dolphins, while numerous reports from international organizations monitoring dolphinaria industry indicate that facilities in both Lithuania and Moscow violate animal well-being, including holding animals taken directly from their natural habitat[6][7].

Dolphinarium in Mszczonow is said to hold dolphins obtained from Ukraine*, which is known as the largest transfer hub for dolphins illegally taken from the wild in the bloody drive hunts in Taiji, Japan[8]. Ukrainian dolphinaria are forced to supplement their stocks with imported animals, as breeding efforts in such facilities are highly unsuccessful. Some dolphins imported by Ukraine are further transferred to Egypt, Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia[9]. Also wild bottlenose dolphins caught in the Red Sea are sold to captivity. Despite Investor’s declarations that animals selected for the facility in Mszczonow were born in captivity, there is no way to be certain that they in fact were not taken from their natural habitat. Taking those animals and putting them in a facility in Poland, gives a clear signal to the international community that Poland condones annual drive hunts in Taiji as well as illegal wildlife trade.

In a time, when more and more dolphinaria are being closed due to changes in legislation and public outcry and the European Union aims at establishing Europe as a dolphinaria-free zone[10], the investment in Mszczonow is unethical, shameful and harmful for the image of both Mszczonow and Poland.

* Update: according to information from the project specification provided by the investor to the authorities of Mszczonow, dolphins are to be transferred not from Ukraine but from Lithuania, together with dedicated technical team and dolphin caretakers. Lithuanian dolphinarium in Klaipeda is known for high mortality of their dolphins. Data collected between 1994 and 2013 show that 10 out of 21 dolphins kept in this facility died, including 3 youngsters. [11] Moreover, transport procedures were neglected when Lithuanian dolphinarium sent its dolphins to the Attica Zoological Park in Greece due to major reconstruction scheduled in 2010. Dolphins were transferred to Greece despite the lack of import permit required by the Greek government and the accepting facility was build without building permits. During the transfer back to Lithuania in 2013, fundamental animal transportation regulations were violated (2 dolphins were shipped together in one tiny tank, while heavily pregnant female, who was also transported, calved merely several days after arrival to Klaipeda). [12] As the only facility in Europe, Lithuanian dolphinarium hosted highly controversial TV production, called „Dolphins with the stars”, where local celebrities trained and performed with dolphins. According to European law regulations, only certified professionals can train dolphins (which celebrities obviously weren’t).This production is currently illegal within the European Union and its producers search for opportunities to host it in Mexico or Dubai.

Signed by:
NIE! dla delfinarium Campaign Team
Viva! Foundation
Marine Connection
Prof. dr hab. Wojciech Pisula, Interdyscyplinarne Centrum Badań Zachowania Się Zwierząt i Ludzi
Prof. dr hab. Tadeusz Kaleta, Wydział Nauk o Zwierzętach, Szkoła Główna Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego
Dr Robert Maślak, Wydział Nauk Biologicznych, Uniwersytet Wrocławski
Mgr Dorota Łagodzka, Wydział „Artes Liberales”, Uniwersytet Warszawski
Mgr Agnieszka Gruszczyńska, Stowarzyszenie Prawnicy na Rzecz Zwierząt
dr Agnieszka Sergiel, Instytut Ochrony Przyrody, Polska Akademia Nauk
Prof. dr hab. Joanna Pijanowska, Wydział Biologii, Uniwersytet Warszawski
Prof. dr hab. Andrzej Elżanowski, Wydział „Artes Liberales”, Uniwersytet Warszawski
Dr hab. Michał Bilewicz, Wydział Psychologii, Uniwersytet Warszawski
Dr hab. Joanna Rączaszek-Leonardi, Wydział Psychologii, Uniwersytet Warszawski
Dr Rafał Stryjek, Instytut Psychologii PAN
Prof. dr hab. Paweł Sowiński, Wydział Biologii, Uniwersytet Warszawski
Prof. dr hab. Maciej Luniak
Dr Anna Potempska
Dr hab. Magdalena Środa, Wydział Filozofii i Socjologii, Uniwersytet Warszawski
Olga Tokarczuk
Maja Ostaszewska
Prof. dr hab. Tomasz Pietrzykowski, Wydział Prawa i Administracji, Uniwersytet Śląski
Adam Wajrak
Prof. dr hab. Hubert Izdebski, Wydział Prawa i Administracji, Uniwersytet Warszawski
Lek. wet. Dorota Sumińska

[1] Raport EU ZOO INQUIRY. DOLPHINARIA. A review of the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity in the European Union and EC Directive 1999/22, relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos.

[2] Humphries, Tracy L. 2003. Effectiveness of Dolphin-Assisted Therapy as a Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Disabilities. Bridges Volume 1, Number 6, May 2003.

[3] Marino, L., Lilienfeld, S.O. 2007. Dolphin-Assisted Therapy: More Flawed Data and More Flawed Conclusions. ANTHROZOÖS, Volume 20, Issue 3, PP 239 – 249.

[4] DOLPHIN ASSISTED THERAPY.  Can  you put your faith in DAT?  A report by Philippa Brakes and Cathy Williamson for WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. October 2007

[5] Captive Cetacean Welfare Factsheet (2015) Dolphinaria-Free Europe




[9] According to information collected by organization ProWal, which monitors captive dolphin industry in Ukraine: