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Animal rights campaigners are celebrating as France bans the breeding in captivity of dolphins and killer whales.
The move, which is being hailed as a 'historic French advance', also says that whales, dolphins and porpoises will no longer be allowed to be held in captivity. There is a caveat that excludes those already held.
However, there is good news for the animals already in captivity, the pools they are currently kept in will now be required to be significantly extended so that they have more space to swim. They said that "an increase of at least 150 percent of pools to allow the animals to live in less proximity from visitors and other animals" would be required.
The new rules also cover 'direct contact' between animals and the public. This means that people will not be able to swim with dolphins. Not only that, but there is also a ban on chlorine when treating the water.
These rules must be adhered to by water parks and aquariums within six months, however they have been given three years to extend the size of the pools.
Segolene Royal, the French Environment Minister, signed a version of the legislation introducing "tight controls on the reproduction of dolphins" earlier this week, her ministry explained in a statement.
However, upon learning that some of the animals were 'drugged' in aquariums, she decided that the rules needed to be more 'radical' this weekend.
Five conservation groups released a joint statement upon hearing the news. They said: "In plain terms, this means the end of breeding, exchange and import programmes,
"Without possible replenishment, this quite simply means the scheduled end of marine circuses on our territory."
BBC reports that the Association of French Zoos have complained that they were not consulted on the ban.
This comes after California banned SeaWorld's killer whale shows and breeding programme in September last year.
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