It is a sad morning around the world today because of
- 26 men in Taiji, Japan,
- a network of dolphin brokers,
- aquarium owners, such as SeaWorld (Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego) or the Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta), and their member organizations, for instance, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,
- trainers and their organization, the International Marine Animals Trainers’ Association,
- individuals who have made a business of “wildlife”,
- the customers who attend “the dolphin show,” and
- a lot of silent men and women.
Even here in Atlanta, where the Georgia Aquarium has “only” one wild-caught dolphin in its possession while the other ten were bred in captivity, the impact comes home to roost. Why? Because it is the dolphin show, ultimately, whether with wild-caught or captive-bred dolphins, that creates the market for dolphins that causes the slaughter. Kinda like, the shin bone being connected to the thigh bone via the knee bone. While some aquariums may suggest that they are not connected directly, they’re kinda like that thigh bone. The Taiji hunters: they’re the shin bone. The knee bone of this operation, the thing that holds it all together, that keeps it moving, that keeps it on its feet, running like gang busters, that is to say, killing dolphins, is the show. Without the dolphin show, there would be no slaughter.
In A Fall from Freedom, Brad Andrews, Chief Zoological Officer of Sea World Parks & Entertainmet, makes the case that it is the dolphin show that saves the dolphins; that twenty years ago, we were shooting them as a menace. He states that the show has elevated them to our awareness such that we want to protect them. Let me repeat. Chief Zoological Officer. Not Chief of Marketing. I could maybe handle that statement from the Chief of Marketing. It would be his job to say whatever he needed to get us paying dollars for dolphins. But I expect science from a scientist.
Mr. Andrews, there are over 110 dolphins, including the 8 Risso’s that were killed last night, who have been killed this year alone in just one small cove in Japan. The love factor isn’t saving them. It’s killing them. Intentionally. Premeditatedly. By design. Because of the dolphin show.
So this morning, after 8 more were killed yesterday in Taiji, I am having one of those mornings, where I am deeply saddened by the collective effort to kill dolphins, that is to say, the collective effort of a few who whether they like it or not benefit from dolphin death, and then the silence of the rest.
This morning, I do not want to see a video of a person swimming with even a wild dolphin. To me, at the risk of offending some of you, it is just the other end of the aquarium spectrum. The dolphins are free, but we are still intruding. When the few who are responsible intrude, there are thousands behind who are not responsible. There are those who will hire the “Sea Worlds” of tour boats of less responsible people. We will go to them, call it research, call it education, put the money in their pocket, and leave behind them a wake of petroleum and trash. We will go to the dolphins, and teach them that they can trust us, when they cannot. Not now.
This morning, the morning after yesterday’s tragedy in Taiji, I am wanting, more than anything, for us to truly respect them. They are neither our entertainment, nor our therapy, nor a curiosity to be studied, nor a language to learn.
Can we not simply leave them alone?
To stop being part of the silence, for starters, you can attend on April 14 from anywhere there is dolphin captivity and sign a pledge that you won’t go to the dolphin show.
For more information:
- http://holisecleveland.wordpress.com/ aka Cyber Whale Warrior