Where Have All Dolphins gone?
This question might not be as rhetorical as you think.
Someday we may be forced to go to SeaWorld if we want to see a live dolphin. They have been breeding generations of dolphins and orca so that we can be entertained, ridden around and mistreated in overcrowded conditions.
Shame on us.
Imagine an ocean without them, the one place where we can really study their behaviors.
As Ric O’Barry put it:
“Seeing a dolphin show to learn about dolphins is about as educational as seeing a Mickey Mouse cartoon to learn about mice.”
Before I really get going, I’d like to offer you visualize proof that what I claim is true. I am not a fanatic, and I am not exaggerating. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million.
Take a look at the “Dolphin Capture Process PSA.”
As you might have guessed, I’m one of those crazy animal people. And dolphins are mammals, not fish, so don’t say I’m an insane fish person, though I feel for them, too.
Dolphins are warm-blooded marine mammals who nurse their young 11 months to two years. They are highly intelligent, and their brains are bigger than ours. They are sentient and recognize themselves in mirrors.
In the wild, dolphins do not jump through hoops, dance on their tails, applaud themselves, or make squeaky sounds.
They do not kiss people.
And they do not enjoy jumping through hoops of fire. Like you or I, they are afraid of fire but more afraid of being hungry.
Their fins are not designed to pull people around on their backs, and dolphin therapy benefits no one except the person making money off the hopes of desperate parents.
As stated in the article, Dolphin-Assisted Therapy: Claims versus Evidence, Autism Res. Treatment, a peer-reviewed scientific journal:
“The majority of the studies conducted supporting the effectiveness of dolphin-assisted therapy have been found to have major methodological concerns making it impossible to draw valid conclusions.”
There are three things I think people don’t consider when they go to a dolphin or orca show: 1/ the quality of their lives in a tank vs. the open ocean 2/ how the dolphins come to be there in the first place and 3/ how the dolphins are transported from the ocean to the tank.
Five years ago, I wouldn’t have considered this either. But now I know.
1/ First things first
Let’s compare a big swimming pool to the ocean.
A pool is not the ocean. Even for myself, I prefer a refreshing swim in saltwater.
A pool is freshwater sanitized with chlorine. It is limited in size. It is not deep another for dolphins to escape the effects of the rays of the sun. Yes, their skin is sensitive.
The pool does not have a natural source of food or drinking water. Not only do fish provide dolphins with their food, they also supply hydration. So their captors are in charge of food and water.
Their pod, aka family, is not in the pool.
They cannot ride waves in the pool.
They are either performing or lingering between shows in the pool.
Dolphin can never leave the pool, retire, or take a vacation. They are not free until they die. And they can never go home.
Still, think those smiles on their faces are because they are happy? That’s their face. Period.
Dolphins do not perform because they are happy. The dolphin smile is a fallacy. They perform because they are hungry. Observe carefully the next time a dolphin or orca doesn’t respond precisely and see if they get a piece of fish.
Many are on anti-depressants.
2/ The Hunt
The hunt for dolphins at The Cove in Taiji JAPAN is in full swing from September 1st to March 1st. The government allows 2,000 cetaceans to be slaughtered or captured. This hunt is one of the world’s biggest.
Fishermen/hunters disorient and drive the pods into the Cove. The dolphins are frightened and confused. They don’t know what to do about the nets, as there are no barriers in the ocean. Some are bloodied, and some get caught in the nets and drown.
Others will not leave their captured comrades.
Some try to kill themselves. Entire pods are decimated, but this is just a part of the process. Once the dolphins are rounded up, the selection process begins.
It’s as ominous as it sounds.
Buyers come, like SeaWorld and Miami SeaWorld, and inspect the goods.
The attractive dolphins are sold to the highest bidder into a life of captivity. Those considered unattractive are slaughtered for their meat. The slaughter is cruel; witnesses testify to their frantic screams. The Cove runs red with the blood of these victims, and the meat is unhealthy for human consumption due to the high level of mercury.
The dolphins suffer, their meat poisons people — the winners: the entertainment industry.
For more on dolphins in captivity, click here.
3/ Transportation to slavery
They’ve lived through the hunt.
They’ve made it through the selection process.
Now it’s time to be transported from their heavenly ocean home to a sterile, humanmade environment.
First, the dolphin is placed in a sling and lifted out of the water. The sling is then hung in a wooden crate. Don’t believe me? Take a look. It reminds me of a coffin.
The captors fill the crates with water and antibiotics. The dolphins’ skin must be kept moist to prevent dehydration. From the truck, workers load the crate onto a plane.
Some do not arrive alive.
The movement to free dolphins and orca and stop the hunts is picking up momentum.
United Airlines is the latest to stop promoting SeaWorld. Yes, they caved to the pressure, but thank you anyway. Other airlines are Virgin Atlantic, Alaska Air, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Sunwing, and Westjet.
Like any business, dolphin hunts are about supply and demand. If people stop attending the shows, there will be no demand and no need for a supply.
So please, don’t attend dolphin shows.
Spread the word and encourage your friends to do the same.
The more people know the truth, the less they will want to support this industry.
For more information, please go to Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project.