India Bans Captive Dolphin Shows as ‘Morally Unacceptable’

21 May

Cross Posted from ENS

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to forbid the keeping of captive dolphins for public entertainment anywhere in the country.

In a policy statement released Friday, the ministry advised state governments to reject any proposal to establish a dolphinarium “by any person / persons, organizations, government agencies, private or public enterprises that involves import, capture of cetacean species to establish for commercial entertainment, private or public exhibition and interaction purposes whatsoever.”


Noting that India’s national aquatic animal, the Ganges River dolphin, as well as the snubfin dolphin are listed in Schedule-I and all cetacean species are listed in Schedule II part I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, the ministry said it is important to protect these endangered species from captivity and exploitation.

“Whereas cetaceans in general are highly intelligent and sensitive, and various scientists who have researched dolphin behavior have suggested that the unusually high intelligence; as compared to other animals means that dolphin should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights and is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose,” the ministry said.

dolphin show

FIAPO spokesperson Puja Mitra called the decision “a huge victory for the dolphins!”

“India has become a beacon of hope for the global movement to protect cetaceans from captivity, and we thank Minister Jayanthi Natarajan for setting the benchmark in animal protection for the world,” Mitra said.

FIAPO has been working with their partners Born Free Foundation, Global Green Grants Fund, Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project and Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation to bring about this prohibition in India for the past year.

Ric O’Barry, a former dolphin trainer who now serves as director of the U.S.-based Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project, applauded India’s new policy.

“This is a huge win for dolphins,” said O’Barry. Not only has the Indian government spoken out against cruelty, they have contributed to an emerging and vital dialogue about the ways we think about dolphins – as thinking, feeling beings rather than pieces of property to make money off of.”


7 Responses to “India Bans Captive Dolphin Shows as ‘Morally Unacceptable’”

  1. Nemo Starem May 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Too bad they still se humans as basically property to be exploited.

  2. aboriginalpress May 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Reblogged this on .

  3. Julie K. May 22, 2013 at 4:53 am #

    I don’t have anything against dolphins, I love them and this is good news. But you would think that with everything you read about India, they would try to improve how people are treated, especially women. Well, I guess they have to start somewhere.

    • Earth First! Journal Cascadia Office May 30, 2013 at 12:05 am #

      I agree that women ought to be treated better throughout the world. In India, a rape is reported every 20 minutes. According to The National Women’s Study, 683,000 forcible rapes occur every year in the US. That’s 56,916 per month; 1,871 per day; 78 per hour; 1.3 per minute.
      Furthermore, if you don’t appreciate how India treats people — a strange concept that the country itself is treating people the wrong way — perhaps reflect on two things.
      1) India had a much higher social wage before the IMF came along in the 1980s. The North Atlantic countries have actually worsened conditions in India, and much of the neglect and human rights violations in India are coming about due to US-based corporations like Monsanto, Nike, and Gap.
      2) India has never really invaded another country (unless you count Kashmir, which is technically still part of India). The US has invaded at least 3 countries in the last 10 years (not counting proxy wars in Syria, Egypt, Honduras, Paraguay…), and has killed in that span of a decade over a million Iraqis.


  1. India First Nation Ever To Acknowledge Dolphins As Nonhuman Persons; Outlaw Cetacean Captivity | #CyberWhaleWarrior - May 29, 2013

    […] India Bans Captive Dolphin Shows as ‘Morally Unacceptable’ ( […]


    […] India Bans Captive Dolphin Shows as ‘Morally Unacceptable’ ( […]

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