Written by Lucy Ross, edited for online by Sam Mortimer.
The Queensland Government is supporting tourism park Sea World against activists who are trying to stop dolphin captivity.
This followed a push from former New South Wales Premier, Bob Carr, to outlaw dolphin captivity for entertainment.
Sea World is one of only two sites in the country that breed dolphins in captivity for tourism, and activists are rallying against it.
Australia for Dolphins CEO Sarah Lucas said science shows dolphins were suffering in captivity.
She said while Sea World did wonderful things for conservation, the entertainment side of things needed to stop.
A Sea World spokesperson said rescuing dolphins was one of its main focuses and if laws were to be passed like those proposed in New South Wales, there would be no Sea World rescue program.
Ms Lucas said that did not need to be the case.
“The conservation work can be completely separate from the dolphin entertainment. There’s no need that it has to stop just because we stop using dolphins as circus performers,” she said.
Ms Lucas suggested an alternative arrangement for Sea World which would to keep up their work in conservation.
“What happens is the dolphins are moved into very, very large deep pens, which are much more humane for the dolphins because they’re in an environment which is much more like their environment in the wild,” she said.
“Tourists can still come and see them – it’s still a tourism destination. But it doesn’t involve the cruelty of keeping dolphins in swimming pools, and that’s a model that could work really well in the Gold Coast.”
Four out of five Australians do not support dolphin captivity and Ms Lucas said dolphin captivity would eventually come to an end.
“I guess that’s an important message; that if anything (ending) dolphin captivity doesn’t mean shutting down Sea World. It just means evolving it to a model which is in line with modern ethics,” Ms Lucas said.