IMATA Action Alert

Please read this latest announcement from Billy Hurley, the Executive Director of the International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association and TAKE ACTION! Details below…

The last few days have brought good news!

The “Cetacean Breeding Ban” that had been enacted by a ministerial decree in France a year ago, was stricken from the law. Likewise, in Florida, the “Orca Breeding Ban Bill” failed to pass through the state legislature. I guess the old saying, “The good guys win every once in a while,” is the theme of the week.

That said, there is yet another similar piece of legislation being proposed in Hawaii. And, unfortunately, very little time has been given for public testimonials to be submitted. I am sending you this email asking for your help. Below you will find topics that you may want to provide additional thoughts and language to. There are also links to aid in your efforts to communicate your expertise and passion about cetaceans in our care to the lawmakers in Hawaii. Rest assured the vocal minority of animal rights activists will be doing the same.

This proposed “Cetacean Breeding and Transportation Bill” will unnecessarily limit and prohibit the transfer of cetaceans in the state of Hawaii. The Bill is not based on science and is an attempt by animal extremists to remove dolphins from marine life parks and while robbing future generations of the opportunity to be inspired and educated by dolphins in Hawaii’s accredited zoological institutions.

The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, 1 February 2018, thus all public testimony needs to be received no later than 2:30pm HST / 7:30pm EST this Wednesday, 31 January 2018.

IMATA Action Alert

Click here to submit tell the Hawaii legislature that you DO NOT support this Bill. Please note that you will be required to register and login to the State of Hawaii website to submit your testimony.

Please consider including the any of the following key points that resonate with you. Please feel free to put these bullets into your own words:

  • Please do not support SB 3055.


  • The drafted language that “dysfunctional social structure of captive cetaceans is known to cause unnatural aggression and stress, resulting in injury, illness, or death to the animals” is completely unfounded and is not supported by scientific data.


  • The importance of access to dolphins in Hawaii’s accredited marine parks for local Hawaiians and school age children. It’s not just for tourists. Locals can go and watch the dolphins, in some cases for free. Add your personal experience and observations of guests experiencing marine life at your zoo or aquarium.


  • Accredited zoological facilities provide a wonderful environment for dolphins, safe from the increasing dangers in the ocean. We should be more concerned about the welfare of hundreds of thousands of dolphins and whales drowning in discarded fishing nets and impacted from overfishing, pollution, marine debris, and boat strikes from poorly managed tour operators.


  • Educational impact of experiencing dolphins in an accredited marine parks is safer for the dolphins and people. This is a much better alternative than dozens of boats harassing free ranging spinner dolphins when they’re attempting to rest.


  • The marine mammal specialists at accredited marine parks are the experts. They love the dolphins and know the animals’ behavior physiology and mental needs better than anyone. This is a perfect place for you to describe your personal experience of dedication to cetaceans in managed zoological settings.


  • There are NO marine mammal facilities solely for research and education that house dolphins in Hawaii (this is the exception in the Bill). Dolphin Quest and Sea Life Park provide critical support for scientists, research, conservation and education within the community.


  • Accredited marine mammal facilities need to be able to transport animals in order to prevent inbreeding, and to best manage and care for the well-being of the animals.


  • Transport of cetaceans is already closely regulated by the USDA and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. There is no reason to duplicate or ignore the already existing regulatory process!


  • If one bans the transport or breeding of dolphins, based on zero scientific data suggesting one should, what is next? Horses? Dogs? Cattle? This is an emotional plea by misinformed animal extremists.


  • To discontinue cetacean transportation and breeding would ultimately phase out marine life parks, thus robbing future generations the opportunity to see, experience, and learn about dolphins in this unrivaled setting.


  • If you’ve been to Dolphin Quest or Sea Life Park, and have seen first-hand that these animals are well cared for by their trainers and veterinarians, please communicate it.


I need each of you to realize this: Your voice matters. Please do not assume others will submit comments, and that yours will not be important. You are the expert. You are the dedicated animal welfare professional. Draft your comments now. Be bold and be proud.

Thank you for defending the wildlife in our care,

Billy Hurley

IMATA Executive Director

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