Following years of protest against one of Indonesia’s cruelest forms of “entertainment,” the country’s traveling dolphin circuses are officially banned via the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
The mobile shows force wild dolphins to perform for the “pleasure” of the public by starving them and making the poor creatures carry out unnatural routines to earn small morsels of fish.
The dolphins perform these routines over and over again in tiny pools of water so highly chlorinated that the splashes can sting the eyes of audience members. With music blaring in the background, the frightened animals jump through hoops blazing with fire.
After the shows are over, the innocent dolphins are locked in what animal welfare group Dolphin Project describes as “coffin-like boxes” for days and transported in trucks from event to event throughout the country.
In a major victory for these beautiful creatures, on February 5, the ministry decided not to renew permits for any traveling dolphin circus shows, putting them out of business for good.
In a letter to CNN Indonesia, Indra Explotasia, the head of the engineering center of the ministry, wrote that permits for all dolphin shows taking place outside of “a conservation institution or in a traveling dolphin demonstration” had expired and would not be renewed.
Despite the monumental success achieved in shutting down these shows, there is still work to be done. Harmful dolphin performances remain legal at “conservation institutions,” including zoos and safari and animal parks.