A demo street in front of Antwerp Zoo 1999

Ric O’Barry, Helène O’Barry et Yvon Godefroid à Anvers en 1999

This Sunday February 21 1999, the first (but not last) anti-dolphinarium demo street ever conducted in Belgium took place in front of the gates of Antwerp Zoo, from 12 to 3 PM, in order to save Iris and Ivo, the last two Antwerp’s dolphins. 

It was not really a crowd success : less than 100 people were standing under the snowy windy rain of this winter afternoon, distributing folders to entering Zoo visitors.

GAIA organisation joined us at the last moment and – once again – Ric O’Barry came specially from France, where he is working now with Port Saint Père French Rehabilitation scientists and other French associations in order to create new rehab facilities in France.

French-talking and Flemish television were present on the place as well as many Flemish newspapers. This fact is quite important : whole Belgian population is now aware that there are heavy problems with delphinaria and that some little but stubborn groups will NEVER forget Iris and Ivo’s grievous situation.

Although the Zoo is losing money, Daman doesn’t seem to be affected by our protestations : he declared to the Press when journalists gathered in his office at the end of our own Demo that he will never change his mind : Iris and Ivo will be sent to Duisburg ! But will Duisburg accept still them ? That’s another story. We want to insist how disgraceful is this conduct : M.Daman is very patient, he is just waiting for Iris death and activists exhaustion. He declared in SEPTEMBER he will close his dolphinarium. But today, the two last Antwerp’s dolphins sufferings doesn’t stop yet : THEY STILL SWIM IN THE SAME DARK NARROW TANK FOR MORE THAN 18 YEARS !