Angelik Velayo, from Vegan FTA, a vegan parent of two vegan kids, went with her family to Investigate the treatment of dolphins in Bais, Negros Oriental, Philippines.
Zoos and Aquariums are sadly still considered the common way for parents to educate their children about animals who were captured from the wild, and as a vegan parent I feel it’s my duty to promote vegan alternatives for such false social norms, and for my children to also feel they are just normal kids that can still explore and enjoy seeing animals from the wild, but without being the reason the animals have to suffer. Therefore, I took the opportunity to bring my kids to Bais Bay so they could see the dolphins in the wild, while I could also investigate and ask the boat crews some probing questions.
In Bais Bay, located on the island of Negros Oriental in the Philippines, dolphin-watching has become a profitable tourist attraction that is helping to protect dolphins from slaughter by fishermen. A long time ago, the dolphins were also sadly slaughtered for their meat and blubber, but not anymore because of the current law that protects the dolphins, and fishing nets have been prohibited in this area too because they trap dolphins. Sea protection patrol officers enforce the law against fishing nets in this area.
“Charismatic creatures like dolphins bring in millions of pesos from ecotourism, enriching the lives of the people of Bais and other coastal areas. Together with our allies, we work to conserve fisheries in the Tañon Strait by looking at the no-nonsense implementation of our fisheries and environmental laws to protect marine ecosystems and resources. This ensures that our beloved dolphins will always have food to eat, while protecting the livelihoods of our coastal residents. When done right, tourism is solid proof that many animals are worth more alive than dead,” noted lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, head of Oceana in the Philippines.
What happened in Bais Bay is an example where environmental protection and the economic opportunity of ecotourism complement each other.
Here’s a short Interview I made with one of the boats’ crew members, JenJen Ketani of the boat owned by Agustin Jaluag, Before the Interview, we even had a chit-chat about the current situation of the poor dolphins in Taiji Japan, and they are aware of it and expressed how they pity the dolphins and are glad that the Philippines does not condone such cruel horrific mass murder tradition to dolphins.
Angel: Kuya (our local common way of calling male people which means elder brother), do you have Marine Biologists here and those who protect the dolphins?
JenJen: Yes Ma’am, We have coast guards and sea patrols (Bantay Dagat) that come here every day to check the safety of the dolphins.
Angel: Ahh Okay, but there’s no more slaughtering of dolphins?
JenJen: No, Ma’am, it’s illegal.
Angel: Ah, so that’s a long time ago.
JenJen: You will pay a fine and go to jail.
Angel: What’s the fine if you slaughter a dolphin?
JenJen: The smallest fine to pay is 300,000, Ma’am, and you’ll be jailed too. As it’s very strictly illegal here to slaughter and catch dolphins. It’s a big help for us boat crews that this dolphin watching, like yours, riding a boat, at least we earn around 300. In cases like yours, who will ride a boat to see dolphins, that’s how we make a living.
Angel: So, that’s how you make a living rather than slaughter dolphins then.
JenJen: Yes, it’s also a pity for the dolphins. The dolphins are for the tourists.
Angel: OK, thanks kuya.
In my experience with the dolphin-watching boat tour on August 8, 2023, it looks like they are really in compliance with the strict dolphin protection laws in their area as they will make sure that tourists are aware of every expectation, such as not being allowed to disturb, feed and come close to dolphins as they are just enjoying themselves in the wild. They will also make sure that they are not making much noise, quiet down their boat machine, and make a stop each time they see a nearby dolphin.
In Japan, the hunting of dolphins continues because of the profit incentive. The people of Japan could learn from the residents of Bais Bay that dolphins could be beneficial to the economy through tourism while it helps fund the protection of the sea and its eco-balance rather than through the slaughter of these highly intelligent animals. The government system plays a big role in handling common people’s need for a source of income and if each government can help all the common people who feed their families by murdering animals be diverted to other sources, such as tourism works and other kind jobs, then there will have a bigger change to help more animals live their lives safe from any misfortune and from being trapped or slaughtered by humans.