Animal protection groups yesterday called on the public to boycott performances at Ocean World in New Taipei City’s Yeliou District (野柳) and Farglory Ocean Park in Hualien County involving marine mammals, adding that a law should be put into place to ban shows that mistreat animals.
Likening marine animals held in captivity to “sweatshop labor,” Environmental and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) director Chen Yu-min (陳玉敏) cited statistics published by the facilities last year that indicated dolphins and seals performed in about 1,200 and 725 shows every year at Ocean World and Farglory Ocean Park respectively.
Ocean World has used marine mammals for performances since it opened more than 30 years ago, forcing them to routinely perform acts against their nature, such as making dolphins carry trainers on their backs, spin hula hoops with their noses and swim backward while holding a ball with their pectoral fins, while seals are dowsed with buckets of water after being fed alcohol, as well as being made to stand on their fins.
Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation chief executive Chang Hui-chun (張卉君) accused Farglory Ocean Park of importing 17 porpoises from Taiji in Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture, which is known for its annual dolphin hunt, adding that it is incompetent in raising the animals, as nine of them have died since they were acquired in 2002.
Additionally, Chang said the park has used preferential packages to entice elementary schools to take students on field trips to watch animal shows, which she said is devoid of any educational value.
A survey conducted by the foundation found that more than 90 percent of students in Hualien County have visited the park.
Apart from the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) and Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保護法), which have frequently come under fire from animal protection groups for their lax restrictions on animal performances, the laws that have allowed the two establishments to be certified as social education facilities are also flawed, Chang said.
The facilities were registered as educational facilities under the Lifelong Learning Act (終身學習法) and the Social Education Act (社會教育法), despite the mundane nature of their shows, she said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) has demanded that the Ministry of Education step in and terminate animal shows at the two establishments. Otherwise, their status as educational facilities should be revoked.
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