For Immediate Release:
18 February 2020
Hiraj Laljani ; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera ; [email protected]
Group Reminds State That Central Government Made Import and Capture of Cetaceans Illegal
Mumbai – Today, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India fired off a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Uddhav Thackeray requesting that he stop a plan to build a marine-mammal park in Maharashtra, reportedly inspired by SeaWorld in the US. The request follows reports that the state government is planning to invite an expression of interest from private players to choose a location for the park.
When the concept of a SeaWorld-type park was previously floated in 2013, the central government issued a policy note stating, “[T]he Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India [has] decided not to allow [the] establishment of [a] dolphinarium in the country. The State Governments are advised to reject any such proposal for [a] dolphinarium [by] any person/persons, organisations, Government agencies, [or] private or public enterprises that involve[s the] import [or] capture of cetacean species to establish [a facility] for commercial entertainment, private or public exhibition, [or] interaction purposes whatsoever.” The note was issued after PETA India and other groups provided officials with scientific data on the suffering of captive marine mammals.
“Aquaria and marine-mammal theme parks like SeaWorld sell the suffering of intelligent, social beings, who are denied everything that’s natural and important to them, as entertainment,” says PETA India CEO and veterinarian Dr Manilal Valliyate. “PETA India requests that Maharashtra steer clear of marine abusement parks and instead support only tourist attractions that don’t involve keeping animals in captivity.”
In nature, orcas and other dolphins live in large, complex social groups and swim vast distances every day in the open ocean. In captivity, they can only swim in endless circles in tanks that are the equivalent, to them, of bathtubs and are denied the opportunity to engage in almost any natural behaviour. They’re forced to perform meaningless tricks and often torn away from family members. Most die far short of their natural life expectancy.
Governments around the world are recognising that cetaceans do not belong in tanks. India, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK all ban or significantly restrict the display of captive marine mammals.
In the US, SeaWorld is a notorious animal abuser and its practice are widely condemned. More than 40 orcas have died on the company’s watch (many of them far short of their natural life expectancy) from causes such as bacterial infections and fractured skulls, 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.