PRESS RELEASE: OUR FIGHT TO SAVE THE DOLPHINS AT ATTICA ZOOLOGICAL PARK IN GREECE CONTINUES
Deciding on the case presented by the Greek Green party (Oikologoi Prasinoi) and 15 citizens, including members of the Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute, against the company named Attica Zoological Park, the Greek court issued a decision declaring itself not competent to pass judgement on the case. We had requested the prohibition of shows of 11 dolphins that are taking place at the zoo, as these dolphins have been imported illegally into the country and are used for commercial purposes.
Given the opportunity, the above mentioned company via press statements propagates falsely, that the judicial case in question has been decided permanently and that the company has been vindicated, although the Court, to which the Greens and others had applied for a restraining order against the AZP, through decision No. 8633/11, considered itself not competent to judge this particular case.
It should be clarified, that decisions regarding restraining orders are not the final statement in any court battle but rather, they are provisional decisions on questions that require urgent attention till the final hearing of these cases through the regular court system. Therefore, final judgments are issued by other courts using different procedures as required by law. Consequently, our claims regarding the abuse of dolphins through their captivity have not been decided on, since we have only recently began a court battle which will be continued till our final vindication.
The Greek Greens and scientists specializing in cetacean research had expressed their strong opposition against the operation of the dolphinarium at Attica Zoological Park from the moment it opened its gates to the public. We are against any enterprise that exploits dolphins in our country and have pointed out that dolphin captivity constitutes extreme torture for these sentient and sapient mammals and the state should act on the case decisively. After the responsible state agencies verified a series of infringements of national and European legislation, we had asked repeatedly for the necessary measures to be taken so that the illegal operation of the dolphinarium is terminated. However, so far, the state, in an unacceptable way, still allows the dolphinarium to continue using the dolphins (although they have been officially confiscated) in performances, selling tickets and making a profit. Moreover, the state indirectly supports the use of animals in shows despite the recent introduction of a bill that bans animal performances in traveling circuses. However, through their tolerance, state agencies allow animal performances in permanent facilities!
The court judged that it cannot decide on the issue. The Greek state allows a commercial enterprise to:
- construct illegal swimming-pools without a building license,
- operate without the necessary operating license,
- import wild animals without following the required procedures of European legislation,
- show complete disregard for decisions of state agencies for termination of operations,
- use the dolphins illegally while they have been confiscated through an administrative decision and the shows have been prohibited
- violate a temporary court order and to continue with the shows while these have been prohibited
- exploit dolphins who have been removed from their natural environment presenting them as dolphins born in captivity
The state, being tolerant and ineffective, allows a commercial enterprise to show complete disregard for the laws and operate illegally. Moreover, despite our repeated appeals, it allows school visits, which are described by the zoo as "educational"!
Consequently, our fight continues until all the laws are implemented in this particular case and cetacean captivity is prohibited in our country and throughout the EU.
Thematic Group on Animal Rights
Oikologoi Prasinoi (Greek Green Party)