India Bans Dolphinariums
Good news, for a change! The Government of India has issued a nationwide ban on keeping dolphins in captivity.
The ban had been under consideration for several months, during which time a coalition of animal protection organizations in India worked with experts around the world to provide the evidence as to why dolphins should not be kept in captivity.
Dr. Lori Marino of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy provided much of the scientific evidence:
We were contacted by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations, which was preparing to advise the Animal Welfare Board of India (which advises state governments and wildlife wardens) on efforts to capture, transport or keep dolphins and whales in captivity.
The board then ruled that dolphin shows and exhibits would violate the 1960 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. In its new policy directive, the Ministry has now ratified that ruling.
Just before the government issued its ruling, Ric O’Barry, the former dolphin trainer who now campaigns for the end of dolphin captivity wrote:
This nation of 1.2 billion people does not currently house any captive dolphin facilities … [and] the captivity industry is drooling over the massive, untapped market that India represents. They would love nothing more than to import hundreds of wild-caught dolphins from places like Taiji [home of the infamous annual dolphin massacre] into new facilities and force them into lives of demeaning servitude.
Despite the fact that there are only a handful of proposals currently under review, if even one of them gets approved, the floodgates will be flung wide open. And we know from experience that these floodgates are very difficult to close.
The nationwide ban ensures that this will not happen.