by Anneke Fitrianti
Bali, Indonesia – September 2018
Marine mammal captivity, while not an environmental issue in itself, but rather an animal rights one, is still a topic that we aim to address in locations where marine mammal captivity is widespread.
Indonesia is one of the last countries where dolphins are held in traveling circuses, shipped from city to city, and forced to perform for human entertainment. Equally cruel are swim-with-dolphins programs at resorts and dolphinaria where these incredibly intelligent mammals are confined to highly chlorinated pools, starved, and mistreated.
Interestingly, the deliberate capture of dolphins is illegal in Indonesia, but in order to circumvent the law, fishermen catch the animals at night, claiming the dolphins were rescued from entanglement in fishing nets. In reality, the mammals are illegally captured from the Java Sea.
There is a great need to educate the public about the inhumanity of marine mammal captivity as well as the rehabilitation and release of captive dolphins.
I'm mostly concerned about animal abuse in general, like circuses, zoos, aquariums, dog fighting, hunting, commercial fishing, horse racing, bullfighting or industrial animal farming. And for marine life, I choose dolphin captivity for my mural theme as I have witnessed a traveling circus backstage with my own eyes. They put the captive dolphins in a coffin-like box before they are moved to highly concentrated chlorine plastic pools for human entertainment. This happened just around my neighborhood.
In my opinion, animal abuses is a social issue. People who abuse animals are likely to abuse other humans. Because they show a lack of empathy and sympathy to both humans and animals. Animals are the creatures of nature. If people can harm a helpless animal who cannot fend for itself then it is a telling tale about society putting up with that behavior. Next that person will move up to humans. How can we stand by and let this happen as a society?
The only way to ensure protection for animals is to end their status as property and to ensure that they are never used as commodities. I wish society would wake up and realize animal abuse always includes human abuse, and we need to stop it.
Consider experiencing dolphins in their natural environment, the open ocean, and don't support marine parks that exploit these animals for human entertainment.