India joins many nations banning dolphinariums; V.I. can do the same
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On January 14, India's Animal Welfare Board issued a ruling that local governments may not issue permits to allow dolphins to be put on display in marine parks.
Dolphinariums serve "no educational purpose," are "purely for making money" and constitute cruelty to animals, stated the vice chairman of the board.
At least three proposals to open dolphin parks in India were in the works, including one by Sea World. The Animal Welfare Board of India, part of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, announced they will not sanction permits to import or exhibit dolphins or whales in any type of entertainment capacity.
The board further stated that not only is keeping dolphins in captivity bad for their health and causes them stress, but it also "mis-educates" the public about wildlife and the marine environment.
People "tend to believe that the tricks they see are how cetaceans truly behave in the wild and that they are pets," the board wrote in its three-page ruling. The ruling went on to state, "to the best of our knowledge there are no studies documenting that exposure to, or interaction with, captive cetaceans increases the public's knowledge or concern about dolphins and the environment. The most in-depth survey conducted by the public display industry was critiqued unfavorably by a peer-reviewed evaluation of its methods and results."
Bravo to India for this enlightened decision and for joining the growing number of countries banning the abuse and exploitation of dolphins and whales for profit. I hope we in the U.S. Virgin Islands can demonstrate similar compassion for marine mammals.
- Fiona Stuart, St. Thomas