Indonesia has reached an important milestone in the animal rights movement, as the government has officially banned traveling dolphin circus shows throughout the country.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) stated that such shows outside of conservation areas are officially banned, as laid out in and following the end of a two-year grace period of a 2018 ministerial regulation.
“The permits for [traveling] dolphin shows have expired and cannot be extended again,” KLHK’s Head of Technical Center Indra Explotasia said in a statement yesterday, as quoted by CNN Indonesia.
Indra emphasized that any existing traveling dolphin shows violate the ministry’s regulation, and all dolphins that were previously used in the shows are to be moved to facilities owned by conservation institutions operating with legal permits.
A ministerial regulation issued last year states that conservation institutions are either governmental or non-governmental bodies that engage with conservation of wild plants and/or animals outside their habitat, such as zoos, safari parks, and museums.
However, the release of captive dolphins into the wild is not stated in the regulation, as conservation institutions are allowed to keep the dolphins according to law.
Dubbed the “world’s cruelest dolphin show” by dolphin advocacy group Dolphin Project, animal rights activists have long been advocating for the ban of traveling circus shows in Indonesia.
Dolphin Project’s investigation revealed that dolphins used for the circus were frequently transported between cities or villages in the country, and that they could spend up to three-days in “coffin-like boxes,” which are transported in trucks across Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Java. The dolphins are made to perform tricks to high volume music in small, highly-chlorinated pools — only to be fed small fish throughout the show.