On 22nd September 2023, the Catalan swimmer Alberto Lorente swam for six hours around a small pool in Catalonia to denounce that Spain is the country in Europe with the most cetaceans in captivity. The idea was to emulate the suffering cetaceans endure when kept in small tanks in public aquaria, forced to swim in circles for the rest of their lives. 

The challenge began on Thursday 21 at 18 hours in a pool of eight meters in diameter by 74 centimeters deep installed in the Mirador Cala Morisca, located in El Garraf, Barcelona, Catalonia. Lorente did this feat to denounce that Spain keeps more than a hundred cetaceans (whales and dolphins) in small tanks, which makes it the country in Europe with the most cetaceans in captivity.  

Although the goal was to finish at 6 p.m. the next day, Lorente was forced to stop due to digestion problems. He told the EFE agency, “I was assisted by a rescue and lifeguard team because I was vomiting even the biodramines (medicine to alleviate the effects of dizziness) and they decided that I had to stop.” During the challenge, he had a body temperature of 34.1 Celsius, which is a state of hypothermia.  

Lorente, who is from the Catalan city of Viladecans, works at Transportes Metropolitanos de Barcelona (TMB), and has already managed to break other swimming records. He holds the record for swimming for 30 hours in a pool against the current, for circling the entire island of Mallorca in 90 hours and for swimming blindly in the open sea for approximately 50 kilometres.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.