Yet, even knowing all of this—even being informed that not only do dolphins communicate in complex ways similar to humans and that they are even smarter than chimps—we still continue to treat dolphins like toys, or simply trophies to be displayed.
Look, I understand how cool it is to look at dolphins, to swim next to them, to feed them—they are such beautiful animals and watching them is a delight. However, imagine that this dolphin has the mentality of your child—probably even more advanced; would a creature like that enjoy being kept in a small enclosure for his whole life? Compare it with keeping your grade schooler in a bedroom-sized area his whole life and perhaps you start getting some perspective.
Dolphins have a keen sense of self-awareness. They have their own distinctive personalities, just like humans. Keeping them captive for human enjoyment is demonstrative of our collective cruelty and apathy toward our fellow sentient beings—and supporting such captivity through dollars and other means is just as bad.
Dolphins in captivity have very dismal lives. Half of all dolphins in captivity die within two years of being caught—though they live quite long lives, up to 45 years, in the wild. These deaths are seen as “routine” costs! Dolphins die of stress, ulcers, capture shock, chlorine poisoning, and many other factors. It simply isn’t natural or ethical to keep them as attractions.
Researchers say that it’s “morally unacceptable” to keep dolphins in zoos, theme parks, and in captivity otherwise; that their complex thinking and intelligence would make it unbearable for them to be kept in captivity.
Please join me in boycotting any and all dolphin shows. If your local aquarium keeps dolphins, please write to them and ask that they cease doing so, and explain the reason why. Feel free to link to the article above or to this post. And most of all, keep your dollars out of such keepers’ pockets and refuse to attend any event until they stop acquiring new dolphins.