(BVI NEWS) — More than 2,000 persons have affixed their signatures to an online petition to protest the return of the Dolphin Discovery franchise to the British Virgin Islands.
The online petition titled ‘Stop the return of captive dolphins to the British Virgin Islands’ was created days ago by Neil Day and is seeking 2,500 signatures. It had already surpassed 2,000 supporters up to press time on Monday, October 7.
“Very little good news came about as a result of Hurricane Irma which decimated our Virgin Islands in 2017. One bit of positivity, however, was the destruction of the captive dolphin facility and tourist attraction run by Dolphin Discovery,” an introduction to the petition read.
“[But] now the Government of the Virgin Islands are in discussion with Dolphin Discovery to bring this outdated form of entertainment back to the BVI,” it further read.
Organisers of the petition went on to describe the business as a violation of dolphins.
“The practice of exploiting these intelligent, social animals is out of step with the modern world, basic decency and increasingly the law as countries — most recently Canada — continue to ban this vile exploitation,” the said organisers claimed.
“Many travel companies, most recently Trip advisor, have stopped promoting or selling tickets to captive dolphin programmes as they distance themselves from those that seek to profit from evil. This brings shame on all of us who call the BVI home,” the petition further claimed.
In the meantime, several persons who signed the petition used the platform to also publicly comment on their reasons for signing.
“No animal should be used for human entertainment — it is inhumane. It is not an answer for tourism, it’s cruel and should be illegal! Don’t waste your money on this disgusting project,” one woman wrote.
“Keeping dolphins in captivity is extremely cruel. The BVI has so much to offer tourists without stooping to animal cruelty simply to make a profit,” said another.
“I do not see the benefit of captivating these beautiful creatures to generate revenue,” another local commented.
Similar petition done last year
This is at least the second anti-Dolphin Discovery petition which has been done in recent times.
In July last year, citing animal welfare as their reason, Dolphin Freedom UK created an online petition to urge local government to deny the Dolphin Discovery franchise the permit to re-open in the British Virgin Islands.
The UK-based organization said they are concerned over what they described as the ‘harm and potential danger’ the animals were exposed to during significant weather events such as the September 2017 hurricanes.
However, Dolphin Discovery said all procedures were adhered to before, during and after the weather events in question.
“Thanks to the strict hurricane prevention protocols, professionalism, and dedication of the work team, no one was injured or hurt even though this was one of the most powerful hurricanes of the Atlantic in the last decade,” a media release from the company indicated.
Premier Andrew Fahie announced recently that Dolphin Discovery is expected to make a comeback in 2020 and will be one of the much-needed attractions for tourists and locals alike.