The moral tussle of wild-caught dolphins in captivity between Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) and animal welfare advocates the world over has been playing out in the media for more than a year and a half now, and it is one that looks to continue for some time.
The latest communication comes from the public relations department of RWS in response to a public letter in TODAY from Executive Director at ACRES Louis Ng, outwardly stating that his expressed views are “blinkered” and that he’s making himself out to be a greater authority on the topic than international scientists. The letter ends off saying that ACRES ought to “contribute constructively to marine conservation while appreciating that it requires many strategies, experts and resources to turn the tide for the future of marine life.”
In an even earlier letter from Louis published in TODAY, representing ACRES, he had offered to collaborate with them on educational programmes on condition that RWS housed species suited to survival in captivity, ones that are ethically and sustainably sourced. As a outsider reading the ongoing communications between the two, it isn’t hard to decide which one to empathise with more, especially as a nature lover.
If RWS wishes to show more concern for the surviving 24 dolphins, they should consider rehabilitating one or two dolphins and keep an eye on its progress, instead of insisting it cannot be done. Well known dolphin activist, Ric O’Barry has said on the Earth Island Institute’s Save Japan Dolphins website that not all dolphins can be rehabilitated, and every dolphin responds differently to rehabilitation. He too, has publicly shown his support of ACRES’ campaign, World’s Saddest Dolphins. So far three dolphins have died for RWS’ project to promote dolphin conservation, why did they need 27 dolphins to do that for?
For now, many locals and tourists may still choose to visit RWS’ Marine Life Park, but with growing awareness on the need for animal humanity and with people increasingly finding their connection to nature, children and adults will more so begin to shun establishments like this, which appear to make animals suit their business plan, and it doesn’t seem quite right at all.
This opinion piece was contributed by Olivia Choong, Co-Founder and Campaigner at Green Drinks Singapore.
Image taken from juxtaposer1