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Court to rule on dolphin breeding ban

Tourist attraction lodges appeal against decree issued in May

An appeal against a decree banning the breeding of dolphins and killer whales in captivity in France is to be heard by the Conseil d'Etat.

Antibes-based Marineland has challenged the decree issued by former ecology minister Ségolène Royal on May 3, days before the Presidential election in France's highest administrative court.

The popular tourist attraction, which describes itself as Europe's largest marine animal park, said in a statement that the decree was 'incoherent', and contained 'contradictions and inconsistencies' that would make it impossible to implement. It said it believes that that it would lead, 'to an alteration of the natural behaviour of animals' and diminished protection for marine life.

The organisation said in a statement that the minister 'introduced last-minute changes in the order that upsets the economy of the park'. It claimed the decree 'distorts work and advances resulting from more than two years of concerted work by government organisations, animal and environmental protection groups and marine professionals'.

Marineland said it wants the decree to be rewritten 'with the help of a recognised scientific committee'.

The venue is home to 350 species and welcomes more than one million visitors per year. Its says that the 'conservation of marine species' is at the heart of its operations.

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