House Resolution banning school field trips to Dolphin parks

October 18, 2012

House Resolution No. 2759
Introduced by Kabataan Party-list Representative RAYMOND V. PALATINO


WHEREAS, the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education play a significant role in values formation and education of students and, therefore, responsible in ensuring educational programs including field trips and the like;

WHEREAS, the prime target market of ocean-themed parks with captive dolphins and whales are students, and induce school administrations with bulk discounts, commissions or other monetary incentives to compel students to spend their parents’ hard-earned money in such trips disguised as “educational tours”;

WHEREAS, dolphin shows are not adequate educational fora for children. A government-commissioned study in the United Kingdom and several other studies show that watching dolphins in marine parks generate no significant knowledge about these animals, and their social interaction in their natural habitat;

WHEREAS, school children who visit these marine parks are unaware of the cruelty behind these shows and are deprived of learning the true nature of dolphins as wild animals. Dolphin and marine animal shows are inaccurate representations of the animals’ normal behavior, and does not necessarily raise ecological awareness and respect for wildlife and nature. Such exhibits risk teaching children the wrong values that keeping wild animals for profit, extracting them from their natural habitat and family and cruelty to other creatures are acceptable;

WHEREAS, the captive cetacean industry that was established primarily for human entertainment and for profit is the main motivation for the deadly dolphin and whale hunts in places like Japan, Solomon Islands, and others;

WHEREAS, the cruel practice of hunting dolphins and whales for consumption and entertainment has not only brought suffering and death to these amazing and intelligent marine mammals, but has deeply affected the ecosystem through displacing species with critical roles in the environment and eventually pushing some species to the brink of extinction. There are only 37 different species of dolphins that live today. According to the 2008 Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature or ICUN, 8 dolphin sub-populations are considered critically endangered while 2 species and 3 subspecies are considered endangered. Three species and 1 sub-population of dolphins are classified vulnerable, which means that they are likely to become endangered unless their numbers improve;

WHEREAS, in Taiji, Japan, annual dolphin killings occur every September of every year and are perpetrated by a group of fishermen. Once the nicer looking animals are segregated and bought by dolphin parks and aquariums, the rest of the animals are slaughtered in what is known as the biggest slaughter of dolphins and whales on the planet. In 2007, there was a recorded catch of 1,239 animals, including 384 striped dolphins, 300 bottlenose dolphins, 312 Risso's dolphins and 243 southern short-finned pilot whales. In 2009, an estimated 50 pilot whales and 100 bottlenose dolphins were captured at the first hunt of the season alone;

WHEREAS, international organizations such as the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) as well as the Association of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMA) have condemned the hunts as being cruel and inhumane and have advised their members not to buy animals from the hunts;

WHEREAS, dolphins and whales from the Japanese drive hunts have found its way into the Philippines despite existing laws due to the demand from ocean parks. The Philippines has imported animals from Taiji, Japan in 2001, 2004 and 2009, in direct violation of our Animal Welfare Act (RA 8485) which bans and punishes any kind of torture or maltreatment of any animal, and Fisheries Administrative Order 185 which prohibits the catching, killing and even mere possession of dolphins in the Philippines;

WHEREAS, scientific studies show that dolphins have shortened life spans when held in captivity. Most of them die prematurely, especially in performing shows, than when they are left in their natural habitat because of capture shock, exhaustion, stress-related illnesses, and other reasons;

WHEREAS, it is also intrinsically cruel to keep dolphins and whales in captivity because of the following reasons:

  • The transportation and confinement of these animals in small cages impairs their physical, psychological and social needs. There are times that animals die while in the process of being transported because of the stressful conditions of the long hours of journey;

  • For dolphins and whales (cetaceans) which are used to travel long distances with their families, the immobility, solitude and the unnatural environment suppress the animals’ natural behaviors and cause stress and suffering to them;

  • Distinct from other animals, cetaceans have super-sensitive hearing that acts as biological sonar for hunting in the wild called echo-location. When in captivity, sounds bounce off concrete walls of their tanks in maddening reverberations which they can hardly bear. Noise from the crowd further adds stress;

  • As complex, social and highly-intelligent animals, cetaceans are capable of multifaceted feelings such as depression. Experts claim that depression is the cause of numerous cases of animal suicide; and

  • The training techniques or agents used to coerce dolphins and whales to learn tricks and performances are most often abusive, cruel, or stressful. The most common form of training is to starve the animals to force them to perform in exchange for food;

WHEREAS, four out of five false killer whales and a bottlenose dolphin used for performances in the Ocean Adventure Park in Subic have already died. All these animals came from the Japan;

WHEREAS, the use of wild animals for amusement poses a significant danger to the audience members, trainers, and the public. Wild animals which include dolphins and whales innately have unpredictable and uncontrollable behavior. Their stress and suffering in performing shows aggravates their wild nature resulting to numerous incidents of rebellion and injuries against trainers and workers. Direct interaction between humans and these animals, such as touching, carrying, cuddling, kissing, feeding, swimming with marine animals may not only cause injuries and/or mutilation to either party but may also put both animal and human susceptible to various diseases;

WHEREAS, the nation’s youth deserves the right to be informed correctly and be protected from misleading facts of the captive industry, and the Department of Education has a moral obligation to teach not just facts about the true behavior of wild animals in their natural habitats, conservation, animal welfare, but also true respect for nature;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the House of Representatives direct the Department of Education to ban student field trips and visits to facilities that obtain their animals from cruel and inhumane sources.


Representative, Kabataan Party-list

House Resolution introduced by Hon. Raymond V. Palatino, Representative, Kabataan Party-list