India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests recently banned the captivity of dolphins calling them “morally unacceptable”. India is now the largest of the four counties to ban dolphins shows. The list includes Costa Rica, Hungary and Chile.
The country recognized dolphins as “non-human persons” who do not thrive well in captivity, said B.S. Bonal of India’s Central Zoo Authority in a statement. The statement also included the moral reasoning behind the ban:
“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 dolphins should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights and [it is] morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purposes.”
The decision that India has made should be celebrated! Dolphins and whales are known to be highly intelligent creatures that can become distressed in captivity.
In recent studies, dolphins have been shown to recognize themselves in mirrors and even notice changes made to their appearance. Scientists have also found that dolphins also recognize their names and call each other using distinct, high pitch whistles.
This kind of intelligence cannot be ignored. There is no reason why holding a dolphin captive for our entertainment is a good idea. The animal does not benefit from jumping through hoops or learning how to wave at a crowd. When it comes to the captivity of animals, the United States has fallen behind.
Read Born Free USA’s awesome article Ten Facts about Captive Orcas and Dolphins to shed some light on the captivity of these animals.