Dolphin and Whale Captivity Bans Lis

Cetaceans home

List of Captive Dolphin and Whale Bans

The tide is turning against captivity and toward a new era of cetacean seaside sanctuaries where captive dolphins and whales can live in peace in more natural environments. Below is a list of places that have passed laws that ban or restrict cetacean captivity.


 United States

- California, Maui, Hawaii, and North Carolina have local laws banning cetaceans in captivity.



- The nation has instituted a permanent ban on the keeping of dolphins or whales in captivity. 



- The UK has no cetaceans in captivity. While there is no outright ban on keeping cetaceans in captivity, the regulations for keeping them are so strict that no aquarium is ever likely to try to import and display cetaceans.

- Switzerland has banned cetacean captivity, but animals currently held in captivity are still allowed.

- France recently passed a law against cetaceans in captivity, which also “grandfathers” in existing exhibits.

- Barcelona just banned captivity and is looking at retirement options for remaining captives.

- Croatia, which has no cetaceans, bans keeping them in captivity.



- The government of India has adopted a policy against captivity and has gone further to consider cetaceans to be “non-human persons.”


Dolphins and whales have evolved for millions of years to live with their freedom and families in the wild. The institutionalized trauma that captive public display imposes on cetaceans is not morally or scientifically justifiable. We work toward ending this archaic and unnecessary practice of exploitation. Ideally, some can be rehabilitated and reintroduced to the sea and even to their families. 

"Beneath the glitz, glamour, and dolphins' permanently fixed ‘smiles' is a world of pain and suffering in these brilliant and complex mammals of the sea. Captivity deprives dolphins and whales of the lives they've adapted to live for millions of years in the wild, and steal from them what we – and likely they – value most; freedom and family."
Toni Frohoff, Ph.D.
In Defense of Animals Cetacean Scientist

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