Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

BBC condemned for collaborating with marine park on dolphin documentary

Posted: 20 February 2014. Updated: 21 February 2014


ADI has condemned the BBC for collaborating with a marine park that exploits dolphins for entertainment during the making of ‘Spy In The Pod’. The series, narrated by actor David Tenant, involved strapping camera equipment to a ‘free roaming’ ‘spy dolphin’ in order to provide footage for the wildlife documentary.

The dolphin was supplied by the Roatan Institute for Marine Science in Honduras which forces dolphins to perform tricks and give rides to tourists. The Institute has in the past obtained wild-caught dolphins from dolphinaria in Florida.

As viewers enjoyed what they thought were wild dolphins enjoying a life in the ocean, little did they know that a captive dolphin – which programme makers said was “free to travel into the wild and return when it wishes” – was being used for some of the footage. Many will undoubtedly feel cheated and betrayed by the BBC’s collaboration with the marine park.

Despite widespread opposition, some zoos and dolphinaria around the world continue to acquire dolphins and other animals through controversial ‘drive hunts’ such as the infamous hunt at Taiji. This barbaric round-up and slaughter has been condemned and ADI has recently signed a joint letter to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums calling them for them to take action against Japanese zoos and aquariums that continue to buy animals captured in this way. On 21 February ADI will also be joining a protest and candle-lit vigil for dolphins outside the Japanese Embassy in London.

Dolphins are intelligent and complex animals who suffer greatly when denied freedom and subjected to environmental deprivation. The suffering of these animals in marine parks is receiving universal condemnation from vets, dolphin experts, zoo industry insiders, celebrities and the public.

The tide has turned on marine parks and ADI calls on the BBC to adopt a policy not to work with facilities that exploit wild animals in future.

Take action

Make a complaint to the BBC urging them not to use captive wild animals for future nature programmes – Spy in the Pod aired on BBC1 at 8pm on January 2nd and 9th 2014.

© Animal Defenders International 2018