Campaign Against Use of Dolphins in Indonesian Circuses Appears to Have an Impact
Nearly 90,000 people from around the world have backed a campaign by activist group Change.org Indonesia to ban traveling circuses in the country from using dolphins in their shows.
“It could reach 100,000 pretty soon. The traveling circus is … really bad for the dolphins,” Arief Aziz, the group’s communications director, told a media conference on the campaign in Jakarta on Thursday.
Arief said many companies had joined the movement, including LotteMart, Carrefour, Coca-Cola, Hero and Garuda Indonesia. Celebrity supporters include Coki, a guitarist in band Netral; Riyanni Djangkaru from DiveMag; and Nadine Chandrawinata, a former Miss Indonesia.
“The petition was launched a few months ago with only about 5,000 in support. It grew to 10,000 after receiving support overseas,” Arief said.
He added that support grew as word of the petition spread. Signatories were later encouraged to target companies involved in the use of dolphins in circuses.
Human rights activist Usman Hamid said he will continue to ask the public to spread the petition.
The petition appears to have having some impact. The refusal by some major companies to offer space to traveling circuses with dolphins has apparently prompted managers to approach regional governments for performance space, and school teachers to boost crowds.
“In the past, if they received permission from sponsors, they would also secure a space [to hold the circus]. But now they can’t even secure permission, let alone space. They know that companies can no longer [grant permission] and that’s why they go to city administrations for [permission] to use city squares,” Coki told BeritaSatu.com on Thursday.
Coki said that he and other signatories will approach the Forestry Ministry and the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry as well as schools to cooperate with the movement.
“Many traveling circuses offer packages to teachers. They receive a fee if they take students to see [the circus],” Coki said.
Coki said that teachers should not take students to see the circus, adding that many fellow musicians also supported the cause.
Change.org Indonesia will promote the petition in this year’s social media festival, which runs starts today and runs until Sunday at the Senayan Aquatic Center in South Jakarta.
Previously Coki said that he was moved to join the movement after witnessing the condition of the dolphins.
“They were in containers that exactly fit the width of their body, and rubbed with Vaseline to keep them moist,” he said.
Pramudya Harzani from Jakarta Animal Aid Network said that the circuses put the animals’ health at risk. After enduring stress from long hours in cramped containers during transit and then resting in heavily chlorinated pools, the dolphins have to perform in several five shows a night.
“These dolphins are treated as a cash machine to cover circuses’ costs,” Pramudya said.