This story did the rounds at the start of the year, and I see it getting quoted again now in comments in various news sites. Here is Daily Kos's quote of a press release:

“Whereas cetaceans in general are highly intelligent and sensitive, and various scientists who have researched dolphin behavior have suggested that the unusually high intelligence; as compared to other animals means that dolphins should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights and is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose,” the ministry said.

The story appears to be that captive dolphins in aquariums have been banned, but what exactly is the "non-human persons" aspect? Does it have any force in law?

  • Hinduism believes animals are reincarnated humans, so it's not surprising they would not treat like circus freaks Jan 20, 2014 at 23:10
  • I believe cows are already seen that way, those it might not be official state law.
    – fredsbend
    Jan 26, 2014 at 16:28

1 Answer 1


Yes, the Department of Environment & Forests of All States did issue a circular banning the establishment of dolphinariums. It contains the quote listed in the question. But, it's not correct that dolphins have been legally declared as "non-human persons". The circular only says that some scientists have suggested that they should be seen that way.

A punctuation error in the circular slightly complicates things.


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