More than 200 men, women and children (and one dog) turned out for the annual Empty the Tanks demonstration in London. I happened to be in London, and joined the boisterous throng in our march from Cavendish Square to Marble Arch, moving along one of London’s busiest shopping districts on aSaturday.
We even (surprisingly for London) got a bit of sun between the clouds.
This year’s march was sponsored by a new group, Dolphin Freedom UK , which was formed specifically to put pressure on the Thomas Cook tour agency and similar companies to stop offering clients trips to swim with dolphins and to dolphinariums. Our group stopped for several minutes at a Thomas Cook office on our march and made our presence known.
The United Kingdom no longer has any dolphins in captivity, thanks to the work of many activists here, hence the focus on stopping large tour agencies like Thomas Cook from promoting captive dolphin swims in other countries to British tourists.
For the children, there was face painting and a lot of running around before the march. Several folks dressed in dolphin costumes, carrying chains. And of course, there were many, many homemade signs against dolphin captivity.
At Marble Arch, speakers included Maddy Taylor from the Captive Animals’ Protection Society and Sam Lipman from Marine Connection. Wasp Howl from Dolphin Freedom UK was master of ceremonies, keeping us all informed about the day’s events.
I also addressed the crowd, telling them about moving Keiko, the orca star of “Free Willy,” to his home waters of Iceland, our work with the Whale Sanctuary Project, and our current SeaWorld lawsuit filed in federal court in California to require SeaWorld to tell the truth about their captive orcas.
There were representatives from many other organizations, notably Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
It was a most exhilarating day, and I got to see how the Brits do a march and demonstration on behalf of captive dolphins around the world.
Photos by Mark J. Palmer.