The Danger of Captive Dolphin Encounters
Bottlenose dolphins certainly aren’t as innocent as they are often mistakenly believed. Unlike the majority of animals, they possess the self-awareness to actually understand the consequences of their behaviors, and do indeed commit violent acts against other cetaceans outside of their own family units. Yet, such misconceptions may have evolved due to how wonderfully the animals interact with humans. Humans are often enthralled with the playful and curious nature of bottle-nose dolphins and surprised by their intelligible persona. This leads people to seek out interacting with dolphins in the wild, and popularly, in captivity where ‘swimming with dolphin’ encounters are the star attractions. Such facilities are seemingly innocuous, but recently, some of the dangers of engaging in this activity are surfacing. In recent news, a little girl was filmed in graphic detail to have been attacked by a dolphin. The animal lunged out of the tank and grabbed her arm, leaving several bite marks. Her concerned parents are now 'raising awareness' by passing around this recording, blaming Seaworld for in the incident, and warning others that dolphin encounters are not as safe as they are marketed to be.
Are they serious?
- Dolphins Are Getting Away with Murder
The purpose of this hub is to debunk the fanciful myth that dolphins and killer whales are superior to humans in conducting an ethical way of living, and I question if they are capable of possessing complex ethical thoughts to begin with.
"They told us to make sure the paper plate stays on the wall, but we really didn't know why."
As if obvious to anyone with the gift of perception, the animal clearly got a little overzealous in pursuing more fish from the 8 year old girl (Jillian Thomas) and accidentally grabbed her arm for a half second while lunging for the empty tray. This ‘attack’ resulted in about 3 small red bruises by what can be seen on the film that the parents were apt to shoot; running outside or making a craft could easily produce more of a concerning injury. As if the actions of the parents were not annoying enough, the rules of the dolphin exhibit were also violated. According to the article, Seaworld has warnings posted that say not to hold the cartoon in view of the animals.
As a self-avowed ‘animal person’, I am continuously frustrated and irritated by naïve people and their apparent belief that friendly-looking animals should not, and never will bite. Animals are very rewarding for humans to be around as they offer a furry (or in a dolphin's case, rubbery), mute alternative to human companionship. Interacting with other animal species is an imperative for some people. Yet obviously, animals are not inanimate objects or robots. Sometimes they can make errors or perhaps even purposely inflict harm if their discomfort is not detected by a human that doesn’t understand their mentality.
We also know that dogs, despite enjoying immense popularity as pets, are probably some of the most prominent biters that you can encounter, statistically speaking. The fact that such nips from captive dolphins are uncommon shows just how low one's chances are of being a 'victim' of bite, considering that Seaworld's exhibit probably sees hundreds of visitors a day, and probably around 1/3 of such tourists are similarly negligent to an easy to miss rule.
As for the parents in this situation, they are just being a typical example of human ridiculousness. They are either overreacting to the situation, enjoying drawing attention to themselves, or they sense the whiff of dollar bills in the air. Perhaps a mix of the three.
Dolphin Encounters are Dangerous! Ban Them! (And free the dolphins)
And like clock-work, any negative mention of a captive dolphin will inevitably bring animal rights groups proclaiming that such a situation was the result of the perils of cetacean captivity. They will make basic, unfounded claims that the animals are abused and are acting out against their ‘jailers’.
Getting an account on the safety of dolphin encounters from anti-captivity groups is like getting animal-protein recommendations from PETA.
Ask PETA or any similarly-thinking individual how much animal protein they would recommend in the human diet and they will tell you ZERO! Zero animal protein is recommended for your health, and a mere molecule of meat on your tongue will make you hemorrhage and die of immediate cirrhosis.
Anti-captivity groups will tell you that getting in the water with an imprisoned cetacean is incredibly dangerous, as the animals, suffering due to their captivity, are all intimately planning demise toward one lucky recipient out of thousands to carry out their attack on.
Jillian, your dream sucks
Not only will Jillian always be known as ‘that girl who was bitten by a dolphin’, thanks to her parents that allowed her image to be plastered all over the internet, but she also received some more negative attention for her statement saying she wants to be a dolphin trainer when she grows up.
The poor little girl who was probably embarrassed by the encounter was likely further emotionally manipulated when Samantha Berg, a former trainer at Sea World now turned ‘animal activist’, sent her a letter berating her with more animal rights diatribe on why her dream to be a dolphin trainer was actually just an example of her ignorance and cruel pursuits.
Samantha Berg is affiliated with and has taken advice from Dr.Lori Marino, who is a staunch advocate of the non-human rights movement. Berg's letter, while effectively guilt-tripping Jillian, is mainly not for her. It was a brazen attempt to use the publicity of this scenario to expose more naïve people to animal-rights ideology through specious means. That's why this 'letter', hosted on websites like 'Earth in Transition', is being posted in the comment sections that exist about this ' dolphin attack' for the public's reading pleasure.
Fatal Dolphin Attacks
Fatal attacks by the popular bottlenose dolphins do not happen, although one other such tiresome and stupid claim that anti-captivity groups make about killer whales (another type of dolphin) is that these animals have killed a few people in captivity, but never in the wild, which reveals just how damaging captivity is. It is rather ridiculous to compare an environment where the animals are always around humans, essentially incorporating humans into their hierarchy or interest, to one in the wild in which human presence is minimal, and the animals are only around them when they choose to be. Obviously, the social dynamic changes, and if the orca whales were killing humans as a result of captivity frustration, I’m glad to see that they only get frustrated about once every 3-7 years. Most of them not at all!
People of the 'free the animals from captivity' mentally often cheer on the deaths of zoo keepers, pet owners, and other animal owners all the time anyway. Sometimes to the extent of proclaiming that hopefully once they gore their evil owners, they will get shot and get 'put out of their misery'.
Bottom line, don’t let animal rights activists lie about their interest in your safety. None of them have a fleeting interest in the well-being of people who visit dolphin attractions and whether or not they may sustain non-severe injuries like that of Jillian. They only have one thing on their minds; free the dolphins. It just makes logical sense.
For people who cannot tolerate accidental (or intentional) expression from animals that might result in a break to the skin, there are a few animals that may be appropriate for them to interact with. Snails, egg-eating snakes, and marine sponges are a few candidates that I can name off the top of my head. All do not posses teeth.
You may also be interested in
- The Seattle Times Ignites Controversy over Captive Zoo Elephants
Are elephants dying out in America's zoos? Seattle Times has released a report stating that zoos are failing in their efforts to produce a self-sustaining captive population of both Asian and African elephants. The report also attacks zoos for pursui
- Important Facts You Should Know About Big Cat Rescue of Tampa Florida
Is Big Cat Rescue a crusader for captive big cats, or may there be two sides to this story? Interesting information about BCR's founder Carole Baskin, and what may truly be at the heart of the sanctuary's politics.
- Scott Maxwell: SeaWorld dolphin bites girl — no surprise - Orlando Sentinel
So a dolphin bit a little girl at SeaWorld. You know what's surprising about this? Nothing. Except that it doesn't happen more often. When you mix people and animals - especially animals that
More by this Author
The truth about giving coconut oil to pets.
Pets that have an average life expectancy of approximately no more than five years, plus some common misconceptions about them and not-so-short lived animals.
Profiles of the small and medium-sized exotic or wild cats that are sometimes kept as pets in the United States.