Saturday, October 13, 2012

Court order sought vs export of dolphins to Singapore

A Quezon City court stopped yesterday the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) from issuing a permit to re-export to Singapore 25 dolphins in Ocean Adventure Park in Subic.

Quezon City Regional Trial Court 1st Vice Executive Judge Bernelito Fernandez granted a petition of animal welfare groups and issued a 72-hour “temporary environment protection order” preventing the re-export of the dolphins.

The respondents in the case are Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, BFAR Director Asis Perez, and Resorts World Singapore (RWS).

The Earth Island Institute (EII), Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), and the Compassion and Responsibility to Animals Welfare Philippines had asked the court to issue a temporary environment protection order against the respondents.

“We request that the Court direct respondents to permanently cease and desist from importing dolphins into the country and re-exporting those already in captivity in the Philippines,” read the petition.

Trixie Concepcion, EII regional director for Asia-Pacific, said the petition was filed after they learned of an application to re-export the dolphins to Singapore.

RWS imported the dolphins from the Solomon Islands in 2008, 2009, and 2011.

They were brought to Subic for training and kept under tight security while the marine park in Singapore was under construction.

Anna Cabrera, PAWS director, said the dolphins were caught in the wild in the Solomon Islands and snatched from their families.

“The import permits for the 25 dolphins from the Solomon Islands were issued without proper evaluation of the best scientific data,” she said.

The groups said the harvest of the dolphins was not sustainable and could wipe out an entire gene pool.

They had asked the court to “order the respondents to hold in custody the dolphins currently in Ocean Adventure at their expense until they are rehabilitated for release back in the wild.”

The case is set to be raffled next week.-The Philippine Star (October 13, 2012)

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