Dolphins Want Freedom Not Slavery
Recently I received a local Environment and Ecology (E & E) Newsletter dated Sept. 19 – Sept 23, 2016 that offered a “Dolphin Training Internship” with a company called Dolphins Plus located in Key Largo, Florida.
The advertisement promised student interns training experience with their resident population of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.
Among the responsibilities were supporting animal care and training staff…by acting as…”mock” guests and becoming familiar with positive reinforcement techniques.
The majority of the newsletter articles are right on, but the “advertisement” for a “Dolphin Training Internship” is totally off track and has obviously not been vetted by this organization.
Dolphins living in these concrete swimming pools are forced to perform tricks for the financial gain of the business who has purchased the dolphin from the wild, (in some cases illegally) and are often purchased under very horrific conditions. This is neither a proactive or “compassionate” internship.
Does life in a park compare to life in the wild? “The Common Bottlenose Dolphin, in the wild for instance, has a tremendous range in oceans and peripheral seas at tropical and temperate latitudes and in a wide variety of habitats.” [Guide to Marine Mammals of the world by National Audubon Society] Marine mammal parks and aquariums can never imitate a natural, healthy environment for dolphins regardless of what AMMPA (Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums) claims. However, Dolphins Plus is not even a member of the AMMPA organization which tells us even more about their intentions.
Students who have dedicated his or her life to support the world environment would not appreciate the situation they will find at this or any other establishment of this type.
However, just a quick scan of internet options and I discovered this site: http://www.wilddolphin.org/index.html. This would be a far better opportunity for an intern who loves marine life and dolphins in particular.
Please read a few articles from Ric O’Barry’s website. Mr. O’Barry starred in the “Flipper” TV series nearly 50 years ago, and he has since spent his entire life fighting for the right of dolphins to NOT be enslaved in this way, torn away from their intensive family pods, or killed for meat, which is what happens in Taiji, Japan every year, https://dolphinproject.net/.
Among other promises given by Dolphins Plus, the intern would gain a competitive edge for animal based positions (e.g., zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries). Being a for-profit organization, Dolphins Plus does not advocate for the protection of wild dolphins in its UNC student internship. At Dolphins Plus, dolphins exist solely for the entertainment of guests. This is not a win/win situation either for a compassionate student, the guest (who never gets a clear picture of the world situation for sea mammals), or the dolphin.
Recently, 32 dolphins around the world were destroyed in front of their family members including sensitive offspring, while the babies were taken to be shipped around the world to sell into the entertainment industry.
This carnage originates in Taiji, Japan every year, when dolphin adults are slaughtered for meat, and their offspring are sold to facilities like “Dolphins Plus” for the purpose of profit. Dolphins Plus may be purchasing their dolphins from Discovery Cove which is owned by SeaWorld. There is a website called Sea World of Hurt that lists 10 things you did not know about SeaWorld. It raises good questions regarding the life of sea mammals in captivity.
Based on facts verified by the Dolphin Project, a standing order exists for 150 wild-caught bottlenose dolphins, placed by marine parks and aquariums around the world, of which 42 had already been captured. The incentive was obvious. Dolphin meat doesn’t command big dollars – it’s the live captures where the real money is made – up to $154,000 U.S. dollars per mammal. Current count for captive selection is 68 so far this season.
A far better proposition would be for students to become interns with one of the many advocacy animal and environmental welfare groups locally and abroad. In these proactive environmental groups, (as you are already aware) students learn about habitat protection and true animal welfare.
I feel sure that including Dolphin’s Plus information in the E & E Newsletter was more likely an oversight of some sort. I would love to see something from E & E that offers a better alternative to students than Dolphins Plus. The E & E curriculum is absolutely top caliber and undeserving of affiliation with a company such as Dolphins Plus.
Authors Note: E & E gracefully acknowledged a change was needed in their vetting process for email notice distribution. Theirs is a wonderful organization with much to contribute to the world of environmental activism.
Categories: Protest Letters