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Letter from Ric O'Barry to Turkish Parliament to end animal captivity at dolphin parks and animal circuses

Turkish Parliament's Animal Rights Investigation Committee is gathering this week to finalize their report about the possible changes to be made in the Animal Protection Law no 5199.  


Dolphin Project's Richard O'Barry, who previously organized a co-campaign with Freedom for Dolphins Platform (Yunuslara Özgürlük Platformu) in Turkey in 2012 to successfully shut down Kas Dolphin Park with local NGOs and the support of prominent authors/artists a year later, demanded from Turkish authorities to shut down and ban all dolphin parks and circuses in the country as "an affirmative example to the rest of the world".

To see our previous attempts at Turkish Parliament level, you may check out our latest presentation at the Animal Rights Investigation Commitee here and here. To support our case in Turkey, you can share our tweet mentioning the head of the Commitee here

"Dear Mustafa Yel and Members of the Turkish Parliament’s Animal Rights Committee,

I am writing to you in order to convey my support, once again, for the ongoing anti-captivity campaigns in Turkey and to convince the Turkish MPs to evaluate the significant attempt to put an end to animal slavery by shutting down all the dolphin parks in Turkey, and by adding the article that proposes to close dolphins parks and animal circuses into the 5199 Animal Protection Law. If Turkey bans dolphin shows, dolphin-assisted therapy (DAT) and animal circuses, this would not only be a milestone for Turkey, but also a phenomenal example for the whole world, making Turkey a role model.

As you are likely well aware, there has been significant backlash around the world and within your borders against keeping marine mammals captive and using them for tourist attractions and for so-called therapy. Both of these commercial and unscientific uses of dolphins and other species are not only inhumane, they are also dangerously risky for people and, particularly in the case of DAT, patently misleading, as has been previously mentioned in the internationally acknowledged scientists' articles here(in Turkish) and here (in English), along with official Turkish Ministry of Health's reply on the expert's report about DAT here and Oceanic Preservation Society's report here (in Turkish) and here (in English). 

I have worked with dolphins for much of my life, and I understand perhaps better than anyone why they should not be kept in captivity. I worked for the captivity industry in the United States; I’ve had jobs at dolphinariums and I even trained dolphins for a popular television show called Flipper.

I know first-hand what goes on during shows, swim-with-dolphin programs, DAT, and so forth, so it is with confidence that I tell you that captivity is not a good idea, not for dolphins, walruses, belugas, sealions, seals or animals of any kind. No matter where in the world... 

I have been struggling much hard to present the truths behind captivity and DAT for years by sharing my personal knowledge and history with dolphins throughout the world, from USA to the Philippines, with heads of states, ministry representatives and NGOs, as well as with the documentary called “The Cove”... Just like millions of mindful people out there in Turkey, I want nothing more than a way for a constructive approach towards animals for our future generations and see the Turkish dolphinaria be closed and banned as in many countries and states like Switzerland, Greece, Slovenia, Crotia, India, California, South Carolina, and Mexico City.

I sincerely hope that the Committee and the Turkish Parliament will use this chance and end captivity by banning all dolphin parks and animal circuses as an affirmative example to the rest of the world.

Thank you for your consideration. 


Richard O’Barry"

* To see our previous attempts at Turkish Parliament level, you may check out our latest presentation at the Animal Rights Investigation Commitee here and here. To support our case in Turkey, you can share our tweet mentioning the head of the Commitee here


* We would like to thank our friends Yağmur Güvenç and Yağız Berk Uğurcan for their translation support of the letters. Yağmur also has a petition against the dolphin park in Istanbul, Turkey, which has already reached 150,000 signatures. If you'd like to sign it up to support anti-captivity movement against the industry in Turkey, please sign and share here.

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