Central Government Warns Cochin Again: Don’t Build Dolphinarium

For Immediate Release:
17 May 2013

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]
Mansi Rawal; [email protected]

Board Under Ministry of Environment and Forests Reminds City Authority of Illegalities Following Intervention by PETA

Kochi, Kerala – Yesterday, Dr RM Kharb, chair of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory board under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, sent an urgent letter to N Venugopal, chair of the Greater Cochin Development Authority, instructing him that going ahead with plans to capture and confine dolphins and forcing them to perform in a dolphinarium would be in direct violation of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Kharb sent the letter at the urging of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India after the group learned that Venugopal planned to proceed with the 20 crore dolphinarium project even after the AWBI made clear as far back as January that it has not issued and will not issue the requisite permit for such exploitative facilities.

“The government’s order couldn’t be clearer: no permits will be issued for dolphin parks, and capturing dolphins and forcing them to perform would be in direct violation of the law”, says PETA India Corporate and Government Affairs Liaison Sarfaraz Syed. “Confining dolphins and other cetaceans to tiny chlorinated tanks would be like forcing a human to spend his or her entire life in a bathtub.”

In the wild, dolphins swim up to 100 miles a day and live in an environment that is rich with marine life. Wild dolphins live with natural family pods and have the opportunity to play, seek out their own partners and choose their own food. In 2010, scientists studying dolphins’ high intelligence recommended that the animals be treated as “nonhuman persons”.

Dolphins cannot cope with life in captivity. Torn from their families, dolphins in captivity are confined to small tanks and left to swim continuously in circles in their own diluted urine as their sonar bounces off cement walls. They are forced to perform meaningless tricks for a reward of dead fish. Most captive dolphins live to only half the age of wild dolphins, and the chemicals used in tanks sometimes cause skin and eye problems.

AWBI’s letter to the Greater Cochin Development Authority is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.