06 January 2010

Unacceptable to have Dolphins in Captivity at IR

Resorts World Sentosa originally planned to import whale sharks for their oceanarium as part of their Integrated Resort attraction, but have backed off due to pressure from various organisation and members of the public. Whale sharks are not meant to be in captivity, and definitely not in an enclosure the size which the IR can afford.

However, in its place RWS is importing bottlenose dolphins, which is just as bad, even though dolphins tend to strike an impression that they can get happy in captivity. This impression is not quite correct. Unfortunately, with the Dolphin Lagoon already in operation at the Underwater World, it will be all but impossible to make RWS reverse this decision.

I'm reminded of this unhappy incident after reading this article that suggests dolphins ought to be treated like a person. That was a suggestion by a professor of ethics at Loyola Marymount University who have studied and published about this issue.

From the article,

The researchers argue that their work shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing. Some 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die in this way each year.

Indeed, if dolphins have such intelligence, how is it different, if we continue this practice of putting dolphins in captivity, from putting people in cages and ogle at them? Remember the story of Ota Benga and the existence of human zoos?

But like I said, the chances of preventing the dolphins from coming to the IR is pretty slim, especially with public acceptance of dolphin shows. Still, I suppose we can do our part by first being aware of the issue, and second, spreading the word. Personally, I doubt I will visit the IR.