Experts Speak Out Against Plan for Seaworld-Style Theme Park in Maharashtra

For Immediate Release:
April 2020  

Contact:
Sachin Bangera ; [email protected]  

Hiraj Laljani[email protected]  

Scientists, Conservationists, and Veterinarians Join PETA India in Opposing Plan to Display Captive Marine Mammals 

Mumbai  An international coalition of marine-mammal experts joined hands with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and sent a letter to Maharashtra Minister for Tourism, Environment & Protocol Aditya Thackeray in opposition to the plan to build a marine-mammal park in Maharashtra, reportedly inspired by SeaWorld in the US.  

The letter is available for download upon request.

Signed by environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, among others, the letter details how whales, dolphins, and porpoises suffer when confined to enclosures that are just a fraction of the size of their natural home range. For example, highly social dolphins are often housed in incompatible groups in barren tanks, which can result in heightened aggression and social alienation, both of which have been implicated in the illnesses and deaths of captive dolphins. Captive marine mammals also suffer from a variety of infectious diseases that are either unique to or exacerbated by captivity. 

In addition, numerous studies have shown that exhibiting wild animals in unnatural settings may undermine conservation efforts by giving the public the impression that the species must not be in jeopardy, since it is being used for display and entertainment. 

“Experts agree: a theme park like SeaWorld would subject marine mammals to unjustifiable suffering and directly undermine conservation efforts, says PETA India CEO and veterinarian Dr Manilal Valliyate. “PETA India is urging the government of Maharashtra to stop trying to bring cruelty to marine animals to this country.” 

In February, the group informed Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Uddhav Thackeray that the proposed park would be illegal, according to a policy note issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2013. 

Governments around the world are recognising that cetaceans do not belong in tanks. As well as India, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK also ban or significantly restrict the display of captive marine mammals.  

In the USSeaWorld is notorious and widely condemned. More than 40 orcas have died on the companys watch – many far short of their natural life expectancy – from causes such as bacterial infections and brain aneurisms, and 20 orcas are still suffering at its parks. Other dolphins at SeaWorld are still being bred – forcibly and, in some cases, after being drugged – and 140 of them are crammed into just seven tanks across the company’s parks. 

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com. 

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