This morning Animal Liberation Malta presented an open letter to the Director of the Veterinary Regulations Directorate Dr Paul Portelli.
Open letter: 26.08.2022
Dr Paul Portelli
Director of Veterinary Regulatory Department,
Dear Dr Portelli,
Animal Liberation Malta (ALM) recently brought to light the alarming news that in 2021, three dolphins had died at Mediterraneo Park within a brief period of each other. Without our intervention this news to which you were fully aware of, would have remained unknown to the public. ALM along with two international dolphin and whale organisations; UK based Marine Connection and US based Dolphin Project are following the case closely.
As you are aware, animal circuses are banned in Malta. This ban was passed by parliament some years ago, however concerningly, Mediterraneo Park has managed to avoid operating under this ban by being given a zoo licence by your Directorate. Animal organisations have always opposed this because the facility is clearly a venue in which the marine mammals perform like circus animals.
The dolphins at Mediterraneo Park specifically perform for the paying visitors or interact with them in swim with programmes, as well as having their photos taken. These activities should fall under the category of a circus as outlined in the definition of a circus from Chapter 439 of the Animal Welfare Act,
"circus" means any place where animals are introduced for the purpose of performance, manoeuvres, and shows or otherwise and shall include any place where animals used in such circuses are kept or trained.
As you are responsible for issuing the licence, we request that you refer to the Animal Welfare Act to ensure that that the section where it clearly states that an animal circus shall not be permitted to operate in Malta is immediately enforced.
Greece like Malta has similar legislation that prohibits various kinds of animal performances. The difference is that in Greece, unlike Malta, the Ministry of Environment had already confirmed the violation of Law 4039/12, which is their Animal Welfare Law. The operating license for dolphins at Attica Zoological Park has been revoked as it violates Law 4039/12, which is their Animal Welfare Law. If Greek authorities have correctly categorized the dolphin park in Attika as a circus, why does your department consider Mediterraneo Park a zoo?
Animal Liberation Malta
cc. Permanent Secretary: Mr Sharlo Camilleri