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Deputies Approve Ban on Dolphinariums in Mexico

April 28, 2017

"The initiative that we presented seven months ago looks to prohibit the captivity or use of all species of marine mammals in fixed or itinerant shows," said Deputy Javier Herrera of the Green Party of Mexico.

Mexico City - After two sessions were suspended earlier this month for lack of a quorum, on Tuesday, April 25, the Chamber of Deputies obtained the approval of reforms to the General Wildlife Law, which could eventually prohibit dolphinariums and marine mammal shows in Mexico.

"In particular, the initiative that we presented seven months ago looks to prohibit the captivity or use of all species of marine mammals, including whales, dolphins and manatees, in fixed or itinerant shows," said Deputy Javier Herrera, deputy coordinator of the Green Party of Mexico.

According to the ruling, the owners of all dolphins in captivity, 70 percent of which are in the state of Quintana Roo, will have 30 days after the law is enforced to prepare an inventory and deliver it to the Secretary of Environment for validation.

Once validated, the inventoried species may remain in captivity for the rest of their lives to fulfill the purposes for which the owners received authorization. The females may reproduce once while in captivity as long as the environmental regulations to treat the animals in a dignified and respectful manner are upheld, so it is estimated that dolphinariums will continue to operate in Mexico for the next 30 years or more.

Conservation-oriented research, carried out by higher education institutions and in accordance with applicable regulations, are exempt from the new reforms.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Partido Verde Ecologista (Green Party) and the Encuentro Social and Nueva Alianza parties cast 242 votes in favor of the reform, against the 190 "nay" votes cast by the National Action Party (PAN), the Partido de la Revolucion Democrática (PRD), the National Regeneration Movement Citizen Movement.

"We are not in favor of an initiative with intentions that we fail to understand, that do not protect wildlife, animal life, we are in favor of responsible, sustainable, animal care," said Marko Cortés, the deputy coordinator of PAN.

The reform was given to the Senate for analysis.