Dolphin Marine Magic fires back at claims of misconduct
DOLPHIN Marine Magic has responded to legal proceedings launched by Australia for Dolphins after claims of misleading and deceptive conduct.
DMM claimed AFD saw the dolphin park as a "soft target" after it was assumed it did not have the resources other animal display establishments had such as Taronga Zoo and Sea World.
Dolphin Marine Magic claimed in a statement the animal activist organisation ignored facts that it met all set requirements.
The statement read: "Just like any other animal display establishment in NSW, DMM is subject to very strict legislative requirements that govern the holding and display of dolphins and seals and is properly licensed to do so by the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
"Some of our dolphins and seals have been a part of our lives for more than 40 years and the staff who care for them are intimately familiar with each of our dolphins and seals and their behaviour and the activities they enjoy, much like you may know the behaviour and activities of any loved animal family members in your own home.
"It is not only us who say good things about the care our dolphins and seals receive; DMM holds national accreditation by the Australian Zoo and Aquarium Association following recent onsite assessment of positive animal welfare.
"DMM is the only facility licensed in NSW to rehabilitate dolphins and whales onsite and in the last five years we have attended more than 70 marine mammal rescue call-outs for animals such as dolphins, whales and seals. We are uniquely positioned to work with the National Parks and Wildlife Service to successfully respond to marine fauna events and we rescue, rehabilitate and release more marine wildlife than any other organisation in the region."
The Animal Law Institute, acting on behalf of Australia for Dolphins, launched legal action in the Federal Circuit Court for alleged misleading and deceptive conduct on April 11.
"Dolphin Marine Magic continues to claim on its website that the animals that they care for are happy and healthy - this includes the five dolphins currently at the park. We say that this claim is misleading as dolphins in captivity suffer stress, behavioural abnormalities, high mortality rates, decreased longevity, breeding problems and their welfare is generally compromised in artificial captive environments," principal Animal Law Institute lawyer Malcolm Caulfield said.
"We say that Dolphin Marine Magic has no basis for representing that the dolphins at the Marine Park are happy. We point to the statement by Paige Sinclair, the CEO on the television show The Project on Thursday 30 March where she acknowledged that she personally couldn't say if the dolphins are happy and healthy."
The Animal Law Institute also alleged claims rehabilitation was at the heart of DMM operations was misleading.
"In reality, we say that Dolphin Marine Magic has only rehabilitated one dolphin at the marine park between 2010 and 2015," Mr Caulfield said.
"Dolphin Marine Magic has been making most of these claims on its website for almost two years."
The non-profit community legal centre also alleged DMM was misleading in its claims that:
. it provides a high standard of care to all of the dolphins at the marine park;
. its animal enclosures either meet or exceed the size requirements set out in the NSW Standards for the exhibition of animals; and
. its human and dolphin in-water interactions, which include rides on the dolphins, promote the dolphins' welfare and wellbeing.