Pilot whale strandings in Donegal July 2014

Mayo Irish Coastguard members assist a vet to humanely end the suffering of a stranded Common dolphin that could not be refloated. Photo by Shay Fennelly/Aquaphoto

It would appear that no post mortems have been carried out on the Pilot whales recently stranded in Donegal.  Whales and dolphins are threatened by pelagic fishing, noise pollution from low frequency sonar by naval exercises and by state licensed seismic surveys by oil and gas companies in Ireland’s, ‘whale and dolphin sanctuary’.

I am interested in acoustics and how man made underwater noise may impact on marine mammals. The link is a recent article I wrote about it.


For marine mammals that depend on sound to communicate, reproduce and find their way in the ocean, is it cruel to bombard them with high intensity noise?


What animals are protected by the Protection of Animals legislation?

The Protection of Animals Acts, 1911 and 1965 are the principal statutes which prohibit the maltreatment of animals.

Initially, the scope of this Act extended only to domestic or captive animals (Section 15 of the 1911 Act), a domestic animal being any tame animal, or any animal which had been sufficiently tamed to be put to use by humans. Captive animals are those whose freedom is curtailed by use of cages, pens, ropes, pinions, or other device. Animals in the wild remained vulnerable to wanton acts of cruelty under the 1911 Act.

The 1965 Act, however, extended the definition to include all wild animals, Section 13(a). By virtue of these provisions, it is now unlawful to commit acts of cruelty on any animal.

It appears that all wild animals are protected from cruelty including whales and dolphins in Ireland. Some of the acts of omission would appear to me to constitute maltreatment of wild animals.