BEIRUT: The Beirut Dolphinarium show, organized by Cirque du Liban, has struck controversy with numerous animal rights groups, who are calling for the show’s boycott due to claims of animal abuse for entertainment purposes.
Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (BETA), a non-profit organization for animal rights, has been highly involved in a campaign aimed at boycotting the show, taking the issue to Facebook to voice their discontent.
“Dolphins’ lifespan shortens in captivity; thus the point is to stop using animals for entertainment,” Sevine Fakhoury, a Board Member at BETA, told Annahar.
She described how dolphins, which are highly sensitive animals, are forced to perform despite their physical and emotional exhaustion while being deprived of their basic needs.
“Dolphins are restricted from their basic needs such as hunting for their own food instead of it being given to them as a treat after they perform tricks, along with their daily need to swim for tens of kilometers in comparison to their prison-like pools,” Fakhoury added.
Jason Mier, Director of Animals Lebanon, told Annahar it was important to change the public's mentality and help people realize the unethical nature of the Dolphin show.
However, a source from Cirque du Liban, denied allegations of animal abuse, telling Annahar that the show is legal and in compliance with applicable laws.
“99 percent of the people commenting on Facebook have themselves attended Dolphin shows in Dubai, Sharm el Sheikh, and Turkey. They are simply not supportive of Lebanon’s Tourism, while many Lebanese citizens have previously attended Sharm El Sheikh’s Dolphin Resort.” the source added, noting that the show was authorized by Lebanese authorities.
When asked about the welfare of the dolphins, the source said that “we do not accept harming animals and we have professionals along with the best trainer supervising the show. The water that the dolphins are swimming in is cleaner than the water we drink,” the source added, noting that Cirque Du Liban has a great filtration and cooling system.
Other businesses and organizations, however, appeared to disagree. LBCI Lebanon, Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL), and Lebanese Autism Society (LAS) were among those who reportedly "canceled their participation" in the event, according to Animals Lebanon's Facebook page.
Animals Lebanon met with the Minister of Tourism Avedis Guidanian regarding this issue, urging his support for the ratification of the Animal Protection and Welfare Law, which is currently on Parliament’s agenda.
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