A dolphin performance at the Boudewijn Seapark near Bruges was disrupted by protesters on 30 July, the local police reports. The protesters are said to have leapt into the water in order to disrupt the performance.
At around 16:30, two protesters are reported to have charged the performance area, jumping into the water, and unfurling signs with the message "dolphins belong in the sea" and "stop animal shows."
According to Belgian newspaper De Standaard, organisation "Vegan Strike Group" claimed responsibility for the protest. In a video posted on Facebook, group leader Peter Jansen said that the protestors would "keep coming back" until the dolphin act was closed. The newspaper says that this is the third time that the group has disrupted the show at Boudewijn Seapark.
Park officials were forced to temporarily halt the dolphin performance and evacuate the audience from the viewing area. Shortly after the incident, police arrived at the scene to detain the activists who were still swimming around in the dolphin enclosure.
The protesters were arrested by police while the park remained open, to prevent the protestors from storming the event again. The dolphin show was reportedly allowed to recommence half an hour later.
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The use of animals in performances remains a controversial topic in Belgium. While circuses are banned from using animals in their acts, animal parks, zoos, and amusement parks continue to put on animal events.
The Mont Mosan amusement park near Liège is facing an animal rights complaint over its use of sea lions to pull boats containing children and adults for the entertainment of guests. Animal rights group, the Wolf Eyes association, says that many of the animals at the park were going blind due to high chlorine levels in the water.