Mexico City Passes Landmark Dolphin Captivity Ban

Mexico City Passes Landmark Dolphin Captivity Ban

CONTACT: Toni Frohoff, Ph.D.,, 805-836-0496
Laura Bridgeman,, 415-688-6105 

Mexico City, Mexico (August 4, 2017) - In Defense of Animals has welcomed a landmark bill that prohibits the use of dolphins for entertainment. The Legislative Assembly of Mexico City passed a bill on Tuesday August 1, 2017, that outlaws cetacean performances and training, as well as their use in research or therapy.

“This landmark ban will spare generations of animals from cruelty and sends a clear message that the public increasingly rejects dolphin captivity,” said Dr. Toni Frohoff, Cetacean Scientist for In Defense of Animals. “We thank Mexico City officials for recognizing our Ten Worst Tanks list and acting swiftly to end the abuse. We urge Six Flags to retire the dolphins at a seaside sanctuary where they may recover.” 

Dolphin advocate Yolanda Alaniz, of Comarino Mexico, held a press conference with Environment Commission President, Xavier López Adame. “All parties, from rights from strong lefts voted just as one,” said Alaniz. “Deputies recognized dolphins as sentient beings who suffer living in concrete tanks. Politics spoke with ethics, and marked a new way to follow for our country, and we will follow this path."

Two bottlenose dolphins and two sea lions will be directly affected by the new law. The dolphins are confined to a barren tank set in the middle of the Six Flags Mexico amusement park, the only facility in Mexico City that currently holds cetaceans captive. Previously known as Reino Aventura, the park is infamous for holding Keiko, the now-deceased orca used in the film “Free Willy”. The park ranked second worst in Mexico and sixth place overall on In Defense of Animals Ten Worst Tanks list.

For years, the dolphins have been regularly forced to perform circus acts as loud music blares. The dolphins have also been used for swim-with programs, where they are trained to perform contrived behaviors that simulate affection and sociability towards the paying public. The animals are coerced to give rides where people grab and hang onto their dorsal and pectoral fins and to give “kisses,” “hugs” and “handshakes.” 

Six Flags Mexico is owned by Dolphin Discovery, a Mexican company that runs at least 24 captive dolphin facilities internationally.

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