The Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy has imposed a fine of 44,360 euros to Attica Zoological Park for violating the law with regards to dolphins performances and animal protection as well as other violation of several other environmental regulations.
The fine follows a report by Environment Ministry inspectors who sent the Attica Zoo to prosecutor in November 2017. Inspectors found that with the dolphin performances, the private zoo was violating animal protection laws and furthermore it was operating without license for four years, after its license expired in 2013.
The Zoo charges 3 euros per person for the dolphins performances, allows visitors to touch the dolphins.
The company claimed the dolphin performances are “educational” and not for entertainment and that courts had ruled in favor of the company twice.
On Wednesday, the dolphin performance was interrupted for several minutes when animal rights activists from Greece and Germany staged a protest.
Jörn Kriebel, founder of the private initiative “Save the Ocean”, from Germany said “With this action we wanted to draw the attention of the visitors to the suffering of the dolphins, which they have to go through every day. Visitors can go home after the show, Dolphins can not! The Attica Zoo does not provide a suitable environment to accommodate these intelligent and freedom-loving animals. The staff are laymen, who do not have much experience in dealing with the dolphins. Staff even allow visitors with street shoes to enter the areas where the dolphins have to jump out of the pool. Visitors are also allowed to touch the dolphins. Neither the shoes nor the hands are disinfected prior to the contact with the dolphins. This practice is not only negligent, but can also be deadly for the dolphins.”
It is not surprise six dolphins have died in this zoo since 2012. he added.
Even since the private Attica Zoological Park started dolphins and sea lions performance sin summer 2010 it has been the target of severe criticism
The Greek Green Party took Attica Zoological Park to court claiming animal welfare issues in 2011. In April 2011, a Provisional Order was issued by the Athens Court temporarily prohibiting the operation of the dolphinarium.
In August 2011, the Greek court issued a decision declaring itself not competent to pass judgement on the case. Although the zoo claimed that the case in question has been decided permanently and that the company has been vindicated, this decision only addressed the ability of this particular court to decide the issue.