The Associació Cetàcea, a Catalan organization dedicated to the defence of marine animals, has launched a petition on the website change.org calling on Spanish toymaker Famosa to recall one of its most popular dolls: Nancy the dolphin carer.
The doll, which retails for €32.95 ($37), is sold with a dolphin and important accessories for looking after dolphins, such as a bucket, a hoop and a handbag.
“It represents a step backwards in terms of all those values animal lovers want to pass on to new generations,” the animal rights charity wrote in its petition on change.org.
“It is a doll that promotes the exploitation of animals,” the organization’s spokesman, Montse Valls, told the Spanish Huffington Post.
The Catalonia-based organization decided to launch the petition after a girl got in touch with them via their Facebook page.
“She told us about the doll and asked if we could do something,” Valls said.
When the Associació Cetàcea discovered that there were no similar petitions, they decided to make their own.
Dolphins living in captivity suffer “high levels of stress and depression and are medicated on a daily basis to help them cope with the anxiety,” according to the organization.
“The Nancy doll normalizes the situation that people are trying to change,” added Valls. “They could have come up with a trainer who rescues dolphins and introduces them back into the wild, but they didn’t.”
Famosa, the company who make the doll, have strenuously denied it depicts a dolphin trainer.
“Nancy is a carer, not a trainer,” Antonio Fernández, director of HR and Communications for Famosa, told The Local.
“The doll has absolutely nothing to do with dolphins in captivity,” Fernández stressed.
The doll’s packaging, however, does feature a picture of a seal with a ball on its nose and a dolphin jumping through a hoop (pictured above), but the toy manufacturer says the doll actually stresses the importance of care for animals, rather than exploitation.
“The hope is that the doll will transmit the importance of animal life and the need for professionals to take care of dolphins with all the guarantees that they will be released back into their natural habitat,” Fernández told The Local.
The petition, which was uploaded a week ago, already has over 1,200 signatures and has amassed several messages of support in the comments section.
“Education is the first step towards social change,” wrote María Martinez, from Barcelona.
“Dolphins suffer so much in captivity, and we cannot allow children to see it as a game,” commented María del Carmen Carrera Ruiz.