India has moved to classify dolphins as non-human persons whose rights and liberties must be respected.
The change is a major victory for animal welfare advocates who had been protesting against marine mammal entertainment facilities across the country. The Indian government has stated that new research shows that dolphins "should be seen as 'non-human persons' and as such should have their own specific rights." As a result of the announcement, dolphinariums and other similar venues will now be banned.
India is now the fourth country to ban the capture and import of cetaceans for entertainment purposes, the others being Costa Rica, Hungary, and Chile. "This opens up a whole new discourse of ethics in the animal protection movement in India," said animal rights campaigner Puja Mitra.
"India has officially recognized dolphins as non-human persons, whose rights to life and liberty must be respected."
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