Large crowds protest dolphin captivity in French Riviera

In the Mediterranean town of Antibes, protestors are denouncing Marineland, a for-profit animal park where summering Europeans flock to swim with dolphins who have never known the open ocean.

AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau
Demonstrators set up banner and boards ?in front of the Marineland animal exhibition park in Antibes, southeastern France, to protest against the detention of dolphins, Sunday, July 12, 2015. On board reading " In jail for your recreation". Many associations demonstrate this Sunday in Antibes to "require the prohibition of captive cetaceans" and "closure of all dolphinariums in Europe".

Several hundred people protested Sunday at a popular marine animal park on the French Riviera, urging it to free the dolphins kept in its pools.

The Marineland park management said the dolphins are a crucial educational tool, and that releasing them into the wild could risk their lives because most were born in captivity and are accustomed to human companionship.

The animal rights activists waved picket signs in English and French at the entrance to the parking lot of the Marineland park in Antibes, trying to persuade visitors to sign petitions or go home.

Visitors at the park, popular with tourists from around Europe throughout the summer season, can swim with dolphins and see penguins, polar bears and the endangered Steller sea lion.

Among the protesters was Richard O'Barry, a marine activist who trained dolphins for the 1960s TV series "Flipper."

The park's zoological director, Jon Kershaw, told The Associated Press that, "No one is going to say this isn't a business that earns money. But because we earn money, we are able to pay for staff" such as dolphin experts who care for the animals, develop their "cerebral gymnastics" and raise public awareness of their unique abilities.

Kershaw said Marineland stopped capturing dolphins from the wild in 1989 and most of its animals were born in captivity in special reproduction programs.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to