Tag Archives: dolphin captivity

More dolphin education from the Georgia Aquarium. Not. Unless dolphins picking the Super Bowl winner is educational.

Before we get to the dolphin education brought to you by CNN and the Georgia Aquarium, and to a lesser extent the Super Bowl, I’d like you to meet the two dolphins now housed at the Georgia Aquarium, reported by CNN to be Shaka and Lily, who are the subjects of today’s post.

Shaka Wild Caught dolphin from Georgia Aquarium

Shaka, a wild-caught dolphin, caught in 1988, estimated birthdate in 1985, Georgia Aquarium. Photo from Ceta-base's Phinventory

Shaka:  Shaka was wild-caught.  I’m not very good at dolphin research yet, so I can’t tell you precisely where Shaka was taken, or how many dolphins from her pod were taken from the ocean on that memorable day.  But thanks to Ceta-base (because the government doesn’t do a very good job of tracking the dolphins in captivity), we know that she was captured on May 27, 1988, and arrived at Dolphin Quest Bermuda on August 20, 1988.  Estimated to have been born in 1985, Shaka has been used to breed dolphins for the captive industry.  She has lost at least two calves in this effort to supply more captive dolphins, one in 1996 and one in 1997.  Dolphins generally breed only every five years, maybe a bit less, because in the wild, the calves stay with their mother continuing to learn how to be a dolphin.  So Shaka was busy.

Lily Georgia Aquarium bottlenose dolphin

Lily, also at the Georgia Aquarium, born April 9, 2004. Photo from Ceta-base's Phinventory

Lily.  Lily, on the other hand, was bred in captivity.  She has never lived in the ocean.  Born to Cirrus (Circe) with sperm from Khyber (Keebler) on April 4, 2004, she now lives at the Georgia Aquarium.

I’m at a bit of a loss to  know what to say next about Shaka and Lily, because I’ve seen the latest installment in what sort of “education” about dolphins the Georgia Aquarium provides that justifies keeping these sentient creatures in a tank, and am left speechless, almost.  When I watched the following video, the universe supplied me with words like imbecilic and disrespectful.  The word “education” was not found in the parade of words that floated past.

But lest you worry that the video will be shocking, let me assure you, this is just a moronic display of disrespect of the dolphins to sell news over at CNN and get more people to watch the Super Bowl (as if) and come to the Georgia Aquarium.  Same old story.

So to the morons and imbeciles, I humbly apologize.  I know, I know, labels only label me, not you.  Whatever.  Just watch this educational spot and see if you don’t agree that, even if you can’t put your finger on precisely what is wrong with this picture, you know that it is wrong.

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Seeing how these creatures are being used, please do not go to the dolphin show.  Not here.  Not there.  Not anywhere.  And to add your voice to those who have put their finger on the wrongness, take the pledge with Save Japan Dolphins not to go to a dolphin show.  Share it with your friends.

If you take the pledge, I thank you.  And I bet, Shaka and Lily thank you.

If you’d like to let CNN know that this spot makes it clear that two of the four mammals in it appear to be clueless about how off the mark they were on selecting this spot, you can contact them at 404.827.1500.  I wonder who thought this one up?  CNN? Or the Georgia Aquarium?

For more information, you might want to watch a trailer to The Cove.

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The irony of entertainment bedfellows

Jut a few words, as I swallow just a bit of vomit in my mouth.

“Why did you vomit, Mo?” I can hear you thinking inquisitively.  Well, this morning it came to my attention that the World’s Largest Aquarium is screening a movie.

“Why would that make you vomit!!?” you’re continuing to turn over in your laudably open mind.

Well, it’s the comingling of mutually contradictory facts, also known as irony.  Sometimes irony is amusing.  But sometimes it makes you vomit.  Today was a vomit kind of irony.  The facts in today’s not so pleasant irony?

  • Fact 1:  The Georgia Aquarium is the World’s Largest Aquarium.  It sought and gained that status as a result of having built dolphin tanks – as little as 8 feet deep for a creature that in the wild dives hundreds of feet on a regular basis – and brought dolphins in from where they had been captive bred, well, except for the one dolphin that was caught in the wild.

Now, that’s a video you should watch – of dolphins being wrested from the ocean, trapped in nets, crying, trying not to drown, separated from their family.  Sometimes getting free, but because it refuses to leave its family, is recaptured.

It’s also the World’s Largest Aquarium because of having to build a large tank in order to house one of its other attractions, the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, which were, not so incidentally, or coincidentally, caught in the wild.

  • Fact 2:  The World’s Largest Aquarium (built so that it can house lots and lots and lots of animals that should be swimming free in the wild) is screening a movie.  I know you’re still not getting why that would make me vomit.  Well, the movie is a fictionalized account of an effort in the 1980s by a Greenpeace staffer of rescuing some free and wild grey whales that were trapped in the ice off the coast of Alaska.

Oops.  Vomited again.

They’ve included the price of the ticket to the movie – the one about saving the wild humpback whales so they would continue to live free lives – in with the price of seeing dolphins, beluga whales and whale sharks (and the list goes on) that will live in captivity until they die a likely premature death.

Here’s that video that I said you might want to watch:

Urp.

But it isn’t the irony that gets me; it’s the hypocrisy.

The big miracle is that I didn’t blow chunks.

So, go see the movie if you want.  But see it without the hypocrisy.  See it at a theater where they don’t at the same time that you’re saying “free the whales” make their living dependent on your thinking that captivity is okay.

An epidemic that could be ended

There is an epidemic on this planet.  Even though we are aware of it.  Even though we could stop it from spreading.  Even though we could cut out the delusional and disingenuous cancer that it is.  Even though we could educate people to its true nature.

Why aren’t we stopping it?  Why are we not curing ourselves of something that is infinitely curable?

Ask The Georgia Aquarium.  Ask SeaWorld.  Ask the Miami Seaquarium.  Ask the Shedd Aquarium.

Ask the Indianapolis Zoo.  Ask Dolphin Quest.  Ask The Mirage.  Ask Dolphin Cove.  Ask Theater of the Sea.  Ask the National Aquarium.  Ask Dolphins Plus.

Ask Florida’s Gulfarium.  Ask to see their living versus their deceased dolphins list.

So, why aren’t we ending this epidemic?  This epidemic of dolphin and whale captivity?

Ask to see their door receipts.

If you watched the video, you know that’s a lot of door receipts.  A lot of hot dogs.  A lot of cola.  A lot of really bad reasons not to end dolphin and whale captivity.

Thanks to TheComanchewolf for the video on Youtube.

Give the gift of dolphin and orca freedom

This Holiday season, when you receive that solicitation from Sea World, the Georgia Aquarium or another aquarium or swim-with enterprise to buy your family a few minutes in the presence of captive dolphins or whales, just say no.

No matter how “cute” and friendly or massive and majestic they are, when you buy a ticket to the show, you are purchasing cetacean slaughter as well as capture and captive breeding.

Whatever their origin, this captive life is characterized by housing in a morbidly small tank, or occasionally more than one tank, away from the communal and familial groups with whom they live in the wild, with insufficient quality of life, unable to display the behaviors that they have for more than 30,000,000 years.

When you buy that ticket, you are purchasing force-feeding to train them that dead-fish-in-the-hands-of-humans is food.  You are buying a ticket in a crap shoot that the next dolphin or orca will adjust to captivity. Or will survive captivity.  And the stake for each captive is her life.

For a gift this year, why not try spreading the message of freedom and respect for these naturally peace-loving marine animals?  Buy a copy of The Cove for someone who does not yet know of the horrors occurring right now in Taiji, Japan.  Donate to Save Japan Dolphins or buy apparel that saves dolphins.  [Someone in my life is getting a Save Japan Dolphins bracelet and maybe a sweatshirt and a hat or two.  Wonder who?]  Watch the free documentary A Fall from Freedom with your friends and family.  Contribute to the ongoing legal efforts to free Morgan and Tokitai (Lolita).

So push “play” and watch this marvelous video by Gudrun Wiesflecker, if you haven’t already, as you read these last few words.

While the story of captivity is not a pleasant one, the story of willful blindness isn’t either.  The lasting reward of contributing to cetacean freedom, on the other hand, is a gift worthy of any holiday, but especially these now upon us.

It probably will not be the last time I say this to you, but Happy Holidays.  Peace and freedom to you and to all cetaceans, now and forever.

Cove Blue for Jiyu

Dolphins and whale sharks as the Georgia Aquarium’s “assets”

The following text is a transcription of a video, which I have attempted to faithfully reproduce, of Carey Rountree, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at the Georgia Aquarium; the video is posted below the text.

As noted, Mr. Rountree’s job is marketing, so maybe I should not be surprised that

  • he relates to dolphins and whale sharks as “assets;” or that
  • he sees the swim-with-the-whale-shark program as a marketing opportunity to acquire more customers; or that
  • his first observation about their new TV show is that it will be an opportunity, first, to talk about the Georgia Aquarium, and only second, to discuss ocean mysteries, which just happens to be the title of the show.  Sounds like it should have been, The Georgia Aquarium Show and How We Intend To Create More Customers by Talking About Ocean Mysteries.  But maybe that’s just me; or that
  • dolphins are in the aquarium because they were the #1 requested animal.  I guess I don’t feel comfortable, and please forgive me, ticket-buying public, letting the market decide whether you keep animals in captivity.  That’s pretty blatantly letting the dollars do the talking; or that
  • he spins the Georgia Aquarium’s TV show as the first to be dedicated to the aquatic world.  Oh, wait.  Maybe Jacques Cousteau’s program wasn’t technically a television “show” even though the only way to watch it was on the television.

Speaking of Jacques Cousteau and the Georgia Aquarium in the same breath is secular blasphemy.  While the Georgia Aquarium’s survival depends upon keeping marine animals in captivity and getting people to come see them (or just come listen to jazz), here’s what Jacques Cousteau said about dolphins and other marine creatures living in captivity:

No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea.  And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.

I think it is safe to say that Jacques Cousteau, who had as his mission to communicate a love of the ocean and its life in order to protect them, knew a thing or two about marine life.  Does it not seem more than ironic that the Georgia Aquarium, which claims something like that, depends upon keeping animals in obscenely small enclosures away from their natural life?

The Georgia Aquarium is not teaching a genuine love of animals.  Whatever else, it is teaching that it is acceptable to disrespect nature.  To control it.  To see it as an asset.

I think I just vomited in my mouth.

Transcript, SVP Marketing, Georgia Aquarium:

After our success with our swim-with-the-whale-shark program, and, and, really, that was our first attempt as a team to look at marketing opportunities. It hit us right between the eyes, that every day there are five or six hundred people here that have contact with the guests coming through the Georgia Aquarium.  They also have great ideas.  Because of their work place, they see what is happening in that work place every day.  So through our training staff and through our volunteer staff, we meet on a quarterly basis to just explore new ideas.

Right after we instituted the swim-with-the-whale-shark program, we were looking at other ways to drive attendance, and the Jazz Festival happened to be in town; and one of our employees came to me and said, “You know, we could have our own Jazz Nights at the Georgia Aquarium.”  So we said, “Hey, let’s go for it.”  And so, in that first year, we, we instituted Jazz Nights every Friday from May through September, and generated more than 40,000 additional guests through the door.  So, not only, you know, did we have an idea, we implemented that idea and had tremendous success from it.  So we continue to do that on a quarterly basis: look at ideas, look at our assets, not necessarily going outside and bringing new assets in.  You can’t build a hundred and ten million dollar dolphin exhibit every month, or every six months, or even every five years.  So you’ve got to take the assets that you have, invest in those assets, develop those assets, and figure out a way to make them really productive for ya.  And that’s what we’ve been able to do with this employee group that, by quarterly just sitting down, and, and bringing their ideas out.  And much of it is information they’ve garnered from guests, talking to the guests on the floor.  That’s the way we got the dolphins.  It was the Number 1 requested animal.  But other activities, you know, that, that people want to do – our guests and our employees are the best source of information to go to and find that information.

You can’t build a hundred and ten million dollar dolphin exhibit every month, or every six months, or even every five years.  So you’ve got to take the assets that you have, invest in those assets, develop those assets, and figure out a way to make them really productive for ya.

I think the success of a brand is totally dependent on separating itself out and being able to identify that unique characteristic that really puts it above any other product in the category.  And we’re at the point, we think we’re growing beyond a brand and into a property.  We’re in production right now on our own television show, which will air this September.  It’ll be, uh, an educational program.  It’ll launch, uh, September 3rd.  It’ll be on ABC every Saturday morning for 52 weeks for the next five years.  So, it’s an opportunity for us to really be in every market in the country, talking about the Georgia Aquarium.  But also, talking about ocean mysteries, which is the title of the show.  So, it’s another opportunity to get out there and really . . .  there’s never been an aquatic show like this dedicated just to the aquatic world.  We’ll be the first. We love being first.  We love being the biggest.  We love being the highest-attended in the United States.

We think that, uh, being able to differentiate yourself from your competitors is the only thing you have to do in marketing.

The knee bone of dolphin killing

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:

No difference between dolphins and dogs, Georgia Aquarium?

It is amazing to me that the United States allows people who do not understand the fundamental nature of dolphins to be their caretakers. But that is exactly what is happening right this minute at the world’s largest aquarium. The organization that is entrusted with the lives of “its” eleven dolphins doesn’t see the difference between them and dogs. Or horses.

Now, if you have dogs and horses, you already know that even those two species shouldn’t be lumped. And those two species have been living under the care of humans for over 10,000 years. But let’s get to what the Senior Vice-President of Husbandry (I dare ya not to say “Ew!” when you read the definition of husbandry in the context of the Aquarium’s dolphins. Hey! I didn’t write it!) and Chief Animal Officer, Billy Hurley, at the Georgia Aquarium actually said (listen up beginning at 18 seconds):

Maybe this is gilding the lily, but Mr. Husbandry, I mean, Hurley, also said, in a piece by Access Atlanta, to announce the opening of its dolphin extravaganza:

I look at people playing with their dogs in the park and see the dogs jumping really high in the air to catch a Frisbee and say, ‘That dog is having a lot of fun.’ That’s exactly what you would see in the training of our dolphins; our trainers are playing with them every day.

So, Mr. Hurley thinks that a wild creature living in captivity is having fun. Sayin’.

As is the case with most corporations, they make assertions to sell a product, or rather, to sell an idea which will imprint something on your brain that will then inform your decision to buy that product again and again. So, when the world’s largest aquarium says, with casual authority, that the dolphins could be dogs or horses, it doesn’t really matter, they are counting on that idea – that image of your wagging lap dog or your favorite jumper who likes you but hates your brother (grin) – creating a warm and fuzzy in your brain somewhere. It tells you that dolphins-in-an-aquarium is natural, just like your dog curled up beside you on the sofa while you drink egg nog and listen to premature Christmas carols. Are they ever really premature?

But here are some facts:

Let’s recap that: Dogs always liked table scraps, so they may have sought us out, and live longer with us than in the wild. Horses, same story, except it seems we don’t know much about how or when we domesticated horses. Dolphins are not “domesticated” animals; they are merely wild animals held in captivity, like a lion or an elephant. And how do dolphins fare in the wild-to-captivity transition? Not well. Not well at all. They live longer in the wild. Plain and simple. Ergo, the comparison to dogs and horses is misplaced, Mr. Georgia Aquarium Man.

So, if the Georgia Aquarium almost succeeded in creating that lap dog-dolphin connection in your brain, I’m trusting that you now can begin to see that the comparison is grounded in marketing more than fact. Until the Georgia Aquarium appreciates that a comparison of dolphins to dogs or horses is inappropriate, their ownership of these wild creatures is, likewise, inappropriate.

But to borrow, and modify, an old country expression, that dolphin can’t hunt. Because you won’t let him.

One last thought: while David Kimmel, Georgia Aquarium President and Chief Operating Officer (they don’t get any bigger than that, well, except for Bernie Marcus, CEO and Chairman of the Board) and the rest of us “go about [our] lives,” the Atlanta 11 remain captive in a set of tanks that are morbidly small compared to their natural range and removed from the natural rhythms of the ocean to which the dolphin has been connected for 50 million years.

In an ethical society, these are beings with an inherent right to go about their lives and not be considered someone’s “actor” in an extravaganza, or someone else’s amusement, or even curiosity, or a human-named ambassador for the ocean.

Sign the Pledge: Say No! to the Dolphin Show.

Note to self: Blog for another day is the point that Mr. Hurley also doesn’t see the difference between the dolphins and “other mammals.” Hey, PETA!! I think Mr. Hurley agrees with you! Sounds like you may have a hostile witness.

Whether the Georgia Aquarium dolphin shows are educational

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog on this topic, and if you had the great good fortune to have seen the videos in the blog, you would have seen first hand via video shot by a customer of the Georgia Aquarium that the Aquarium’s dolphin extravaganza was, shall we say, a little lean on educational value.

Seeing unvarnished home movies likely provides something a tad closer to the reality of the dolphin show than a highly polished piece that the Georgia Aquarium would put together as an advertisement.  Make sense?  It does to me, too.

Those home movies are no longer available, but since I want to continue to provide information and facts surrounding the Georgia Aquarium and dolphin captivity, it appears that I’ll have to rely at least in part on the G.A.’s own video.  But before I show you the video, let me set the stage a bit.  It may look like I’m straying off topic, but just hang with me.  I’ll bring it all home.  I promise.

In your mind’s eye, picture the strawberry pie on the menu at Shoney’s.  The big, center-posted picture on the cover.  With radiating smaller pics of fried chicken, Salisbury steak (both with a gravylike schmear), and maybe even shrimp, interspersed with various starchy concoctions, some with peas thrown in for color.

But the pie: the uber bright and shiny red of, not really the strawberries so much (yes, I think there were actual strawberries in there) as the goo that surrounds the strawberries.  The goo that jiggles, but not the same way that Jello jiggles.  Translucent, but again, not the same way that Jello is.  You know it.  More like  snot, really.  But darn red.  A mighty fine red, but one that you know isn’t real.  And this, this picture of the pie that is on the cover of the menu, that is now in your mind’s eye, with its perfect dollop of whipped cream, well, not real whipped cream, really, but some light and fluffy mixture of milk flakes, talc, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oil . . .  Crap.  I really didn’t mean to ruin that (open air quotes) whipped cream (close air quotes) for you.  Oh, who am I fooling?  You’re probably on your way to that single-use plastic container of Cool Whip right now.  (Are these people going to sue me for mentioning them in the same piece as the Georgia Aquarium?  Oh, I am just mean!)  Anyway.  Picture the pie.  The bright red goo.  The perfect dollop.

Flash forward to your having ordered it.  Now watch the pie as it approaches on the tray brought by the hard-working and underpaid (oops, slid into another social issue) waitress.  The reality is not quite as lovely as the advertisement.  The advertisement promised something that it didn’t deliver.

And by comparison, with that picture of the pie in your mind, that fake, fake, fake, fake, fake red of the pie that still somehow appeals to the inner 6-year-old-at-Shoneys-for-the-first-time, consider that the Georgia Aquarium is tinkering with that same appeal. The strawberry pie lie.  The reality isn’t what’s on the cover.  But what’s on the cover is what the restaurant needs you to believe so that you’ll order it.  So what does the Georgia Aquarium need you to believe?

I guess, first and foremost, it wants you to believe that the dolphins are happy.  Happy in captivity.  Happy that they are not in the ocean swimming freely with their close-knit community of family.  I guess there’s a lot they would like you to believe.  That dolphins live longer lives in captivity.  But there is also stuff they don’t want you to know.  They don’t want you know that the average life span of a dolphin in captivity is five years, when dolphins in the wild live far longer.  Or that the aquariums often give captive dolphins daily doses of medicines to control ulcers and intestinal and respiratory issues.  So you can probably expect a Georgia Aquarium online commercial to show you what it wants you to believe.  I expect you’ll see something that looks like happiness.  Jumping.  Splashing.

But what about the education part?  Surely they’ll highlight that aspect, too.  It is supposed to be central to the purpose of the dolphin show, right?  Education.  Right?

And here we are at the finish line, getting ready to watch one of the Georgia Aquarium’s own videos – one that it has placed on Youtube with all the agreements and consents that one gives when posting to Youtube – to see how it invites customers to come be educated about happy dolphins.

Soooooooo.  What did you learn about dolphins?  What do you expect to learn based on the Georgia Aquarium’s own enticement?  What education do the eleven dolphins who are held captive at the Georgia Aquarium provide to justify their continued captivity, held away from the open ocean for which they were designed?

To actually learn about dolphins and whales in captivity, watch A Fall From Freedom.

And don’t go to the dolphin show.

In the meantime, if you need entertaining, just take a gander at what we actually allow to entice us into believing that the food is good.  Or the dolphins happy.

This burger was made from happy cows, too!

Whether dolphin shows are educational – a matter of definition?

Congressman Young’s (R-AK) point, during a hearing regarding marine mammal captivity, that whether the dolphin shows are educational or not educational is a matter of definition, might be a valid one.  What specific kind of information any particular dolphin exhibit imparts can certainly be varied: one exhibit might focus on dolphin life span and intelligence while another addresses family structure and habitat range, while still another describes what we understand and do not understand about dolphin communication.

But saying it’s a matter of definition is a convenient cop-out, and not altogether true.  Because one should look, that is, Congressman Young should look, at the actual content of shows that justify keeping marine mammals in captivity, before cavalierly speaking of something being a matter of definition.  And so should we all.  So, here, for your convenience, Congressman Young (and the minute numbers of you who are actually reading this), is an example:

And more:

I’m just wondering what you learned about dolphins in those videos, shot at a real dolphin show.  That they can jump?  I’m thinking, just thinking, that you already knew that.

I’m also thinking that you didn’t need to see a dolphin in captivity to know that it can jump, or that it can jump in perfect timing with other dolphins, or that it can jump in perfect timing with other dolphins 15 feet into the air.  Or that it can be trained to tail walk.  Or splash.  Or make noises on command.

Here’s what I’m guessing you didn’t learn at the dolphin show: that the high-pitched noise, flashing lights, constant noise (encouraging the audience to be loud?!), explosion simulations – where to stop with this list – not to mention being deprived of legitimate natural behaviors  – like catching it own prey, swimming in the natural rhythm of the ocean and its seasons, swimming fast, swimming far, and swimming deep – puts a constant stress on the dolphin that nature does not.  And I know that you know what stress does to the health of a living being.

So, in the end, none, I repeat, none of the show is about education.  Its sole imperative is to entertain.  To entertain you so that you will come back, and you will tell your friends to go to the entertaining dolphin show.  And your friends will tell their friends.

Here’s what I’m hoping.  That you’ll recognize the moral bankruptcy of the dolphin show.  And you won’t go.  And you’ll tell your friends not to go.  And your friends will tell their friends.

And just one short post-script: be on your guard against being lulled, fooled or warmed by current dolphin and whale movies into supporting captivity by going to a dolphin show.  Here’s a dolphin and whale movie that you can watch on your computer that will allow the warm-and-fuzzies you get from those Hollywood movies not to send you straight to the Georgia Aquarium or SeaWorld to watch dolphins that were not saved, but enslaved.

Let the dolphins be free; watch a documentary, go to the beach, hug your dog.

Urgent Call to Action – Dolphin Base Taiji

In his repetitive spy-hopping behavior, photo Rosie Kunneke of Sea Shepherd

My friends and bloggers at Save Misty the Dolphin are calling for help for another stressed and sick dolphin. Please visit that page for more information about the urgent need for immediate action and the numbers to call to help this dolphin through what observers say may be a life-threatening crisis.

The dolphin is exhibiting repetitive “spy-hopping” behaviors that indicate that it is not adjusting well to life in a tank.  It also appears to be repeatedly “beaching” itself on the platforms.

Immediate action must be taken to remove this dolphin from this setting before it suffers from further illness or injury.