Several dolphinariums which were to be erected at different locations in India have been put on hold after the animal organizations protested against the plans. The issue was specially taken up by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and ..
Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of Environment and Forests, announced on Wednesday that the Ministry will not allow dolphinarium plans which have been proposed in different states, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Noida and Maharashtra. In Tamil Nadu, a dolphinarium has been reportedly proposed to be built in Chennai.
An official ban on dolphin parks is expected to come up soon. Most of these parks were planned in association with overseas companies.
The Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory body under the same ministry and which is entrusted with permitting the use of animals in performances, had in the past stated that it has not given permission for the use of any dolphins for dolphinariums and that it will not do so in the future. It has also asked all states not to entertain any application for the setting up of dolphinarium. The board stated that allowing the use of these animals for the purpose of display and performance would amount to cruelty under The Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960.
A letter in this regard was sent by PETA India to Natarajan last month. The letter was signed by Sarfaraz Syed, Corporate and Government Affairs Liaison. In the letter, Syed said, The proposal for dolphinariums in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Noida and Maharashtra flies in the face of growing worldwide condemnation of confining wild animals or otherwise using them for human diversion… Consumer boycotts have forced all of England’s marine-mammal exhibits to close, and governments around the world are also shifting focus away from these kinds of displays because of negative public opinion. In Brazil and Costa Rica, it is illegal to use marine mammals for entertainment. Israel has prohibited the importation of dolphins for use in marine parks, and Canada no longer allows beluga whales to be captured and exported. The state of South Carolina in the US has banned exhibits of whales and dolphins.”
In the western state of Maharashtra, the state government planned to build a dolphin park in Sindhudurg district but it was opposed by the animal rights organizations. The Rs 510-crore project, which was to be India’s first oceanarium in the village of Tondawali, was objected to by Humane Society International (HSI), an animal rights organisation based in Washington as well as PETA.
After that opposition, the central ministry advised the Maharashtra Forest Department to stop the project since it clearly violated The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. PETA had demanded similar directive for another projects in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Noida and Goa, replying to which Natarajan clarified the stand of her ministry.