Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rekindling Waters

Artist credit:  Christian Lassen

I think I've made my position regarding animals in captivity pretty clear throughout the duration of my having this blog.  When I lived out in California for almost 18 years, I never once visited Sea World because I could not stomach the fact that they had dolphins and orcas, etal imprisoned there.    I admit I've been to the zoo a few times in my lifetime.  A couple of times in Oregon and once at the San Diego Zoo.  This was before I became more educated on this issue.  And once when I visited Las Vegas, I believe it was the Mirage hotel that had dolphins in captivity there so people could just walk through, see them, and walk out.  Boy was I stupid to let myself be influenced by peer pressure at the time, knowing full well that it did not sit well with me in the least to see these dolphins in that environment.

Some people argue that situations and places like this are invaluable in educating people about our wildlife and marine mammals.  I disagree.  There are far more humane ways to educate people about our animal and mammal friends than to basically enslave them and make them beholden to the almighty buck.

Following is an excellent article by a writer that shares my view on this: Get Dolphins Out of Aquariums

One thing that the profitable marine entertainment industry doesn't want the public to know is that buying a ticket to a marine theme park helps support the slaughter of dolphins in the wild. Every year, thousands of dolphins are killed in bloody "drive fisheries" in Japan. While most end up as meat in Japanese supermarkets, each year, approximately two dozen captured dolphins are sold to marine parks and "swim-with" programs around the world. The considerable profit from those sales perpetuates the slaughter. 
 I couldn't have said it better.   If you buy a ticket to a place like Sea World, you are supporting the slaughter of these marine mammals.   It's just that simple.

 I don't care how well the park owners or trainers or whoever states that the mammals are treated well.  It is NOT a natural environment for them.

Here's another excerpt from that article:

The mortality rate for dolphins and other captive marine life is high. Animals have become sick and have died from contaminated water and stress-related ulcers and from ingesting key chains, sunglasses and rocks that were tossed into their tanks. They've died while being treated for common ear and tooth infections. Former dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry quit the business after the death of Flipper, his favorite "student," believing that stress and depression contributed to the dolphin's death.

Because official records are sketchy at best, there is no way of knowing for sure how many animals die in captivity. But since many gate-drawing animals such as orcas and bottlenose dolphins are covered by million-dollar insurance policies, even dead they bring in bucks.

I will repeat:  If you buy a ticket to a place like Sea World or any other related park or setting, YOU are supporting the slaughter and enslavement of these mammals.  That makes YOU an accessory to murder.

Extreme of me to say that?  Maybe.  But that's how I see it.  We wouldn't stand for this sort of thing happening to humans, so why do we stand for it with dolphins and/or orcas?   The fact that this continues to occur and people rake in millions of dollars in profit by doing this, and people support this,  is a prime example of our failure as human beings.

A friend recommended this book to me.  I've yet to read it myself but it's on my list.  Rekindling Waters The Truth About Swimming With Dolphins

Another article on the subject of treating dolphins as "non human persons."   Dolphins Second Brightest on Planet

This gives even more weight to the controversial issue of keeping our marine friends in captivity.


The researchers argue that their work shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing. Some 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die in this way each year. "Many dolphin brains are larger than our own and second in mass only to the human brain when corrected for body size," said Lori Marino, a zoologist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who has used magnetic resonance imaging scans to map the brains of dolphin species and compare them with those of primates.

On the Sea Shepherd front, there are a few updates on their site:

Sea Shepherd is a Fundamentalist Darwinist Anti-God Organization

In Pursuit of Lives Not Lost

Cyber Wars

In Australia:  Locals Rally to Save Whales

Great site:  Save the Earth Virtual Conference

Wonderful video:  Imagine by John Lennon (shown in American Sign Language and singing)




  1. Is your position on marine mammals mostly? Or all zoos? I find I can't take a black/white position on the issue of animals in captivity. I own pets, including fish tanks, & horses(which are roaming mammals) and to carry the argument to it's full one could argue that humans should not have any pets.

    Not looking to get into a debate here-- it's a debate issue I tend to avoid because I see pros/cons on both sides of the "pets = forced captivity" issue.


  2. Mostly marine mammals but also wildlife such as elephants, tigers, lions, bears, etc. Smaller animals seem to be able to adapt more readily to being domesticated and certain animals have proven to adapt well (IE Horses, dogs, cats, etc.)

    Remember the story a couple years ago about the tiger mauling at the San Francisco Zoo? That, to me, is an example of an animal that should not be confined.

    I agree there are pros and cons and depends on the species. But too many of these animals/mammals are not being treated humanely and there is usually (not always) an ulterior or monetary motivation behind their captivity. Doing it for conservation is one thing but doing it for profit is another.

    Yeah this is a controversial and ethical issue that has long been debated and probably always will be. My position is mostly on the marine species .. but I believe that if we cease to regard them as creatures to be exploited or managed, and instead view them as fellow creatures to be treated with respect and to be protected, things might be different.

    I'm no expert and I certainly don't have the answers though ... :-)

  3. Here's some links I found regarding this debate:

    Like I said, this has long been debated and remains a controversial issue. I believe we can learn much more from our animal and mammal friends by observing them in their natural habitats and attempting to live in harmony with them versus enslaving them.

  4. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  5. Hi Maria!

    Thank you for taking the time to comment & to introduce yourself ... and for the compliment :-) I really appreciate it!

  6. Hello Dolphin!
    Have only just discovered your blog and am enjoying it greatly! Very glad to see you are widely covering the slaughter in Japan and speaking out about captivity. I've been working on these issues for about twenty years and have written a book about dolphin conservation--particularly captivity called REKINDLING THE WATERS: The Truth About Swimming with Dolphins, which it was lovely to see mention of on your site. Please let me know how you like the book once you've had a chance to read it. For a little more info you can visit my site:
    Thanks again for this wonderful and comprehensive blog!
    Kind Regards,
    ~Leah Lemieux

  7. Hi Leah!

    I'm honored to have a published writer like yourself taking the time to read my blog and to leave a comment! I have not yet ordered your book but it is definitely on my list to do so .. and I look forward to reading it!

    Thank you so much for dropping by! And thank you for your link .. I'm going to share that on my list of "beaches to visit" list here. Hope to see you again :-)

  8. I've finally figured out why my posts were not going through so can participate in discussion. It's probably good my last couple didn't come through because I would have been guilty of hijacking the thread and contributing to thread drift, lol.

    I too am looking forward to reading "Rekindling the Waters."