In a landmark ruling, the owners of Attica Zoological Park, based in the suburb of Spata outside Athens, have been found guilty of conducting illegal shows involving dolphins. The verdict, handed down by the 6th Single-Member Misdemeanor Court of Athens, was given as the owners of “Attiko Theme Park SA” were sentenced to 8 months with a three-year suspension for the illegal use of animals, despite the fact that it had been banned since 2012.
During the trial, the court had the testimony of an environmental inspector who confirmed that the dolphins at Attica Zoological Park were used as performers in a dolphinarium, akin to “clowns in a circus”. This revelation exposed the true nature of these shows and demonstrated the extent to which they flouted the law.
“ We are pleased to see the law that prohibits the use of animals as entertainment used in this way,” said Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly, the Chief Executive of Animal Action Greece. “We proudly ran a six-year campaign to fight the use of animals within circuses, supported by Animal Defenders International. Therefore, we welcome this recent news and we are delighted to hear that the law is being upheld in this way.”
Enforcing these laws and ensuring that they apply to all animals, not just those in zoos and dolphinariums, is an ongoing challenge. Public awareness and engagement are crucial in driving change and ensuring that the rights and welfare of animals are upheld, as well as proper training and resources within law enforcement agencies, all of which can play a pivotal role in ensuring that animal welfare laws are upheld consistently and comprehensively.
This case serves as a reminder that the world of animal welfare is an evolving one. With continued vigilance, commitment, and a clear understanding of the law, we can work for a brighter future where animals are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve, with the support of well-trained authorities who uphold these principles, which are underpinned by strong laws.