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Dolphins Suffer In Captivity

Updated on November 7, 2011

Do Not Support Marine Amusment Parks, Hotels With Dolphins, Swim With Dolphin Programs or Dolphinaria

Dolphins are intelligent, self aware, sensitive, highly emotional, creative and playful creatures. As mammals, they breathe air and suckle their young just like we do. They share loving family relationships and have been swimming in the Earth's seas for over 50 million years. Dolphins and other whales could be said to dominate the seas, which cover 70 % of our Earth's surface, just like we dominate the land, the other 30%.

The places you can go to see dolphins perform, called dolphinaria, are far from educational and cause a great deal of suffering to these amazing creatures. Please take the time to read about this issue and do what you can to help end this abuse.

This image and a fascinating article on the intelligence of dolphins can be found at: dolphins-intelligence, its well worth a read.

Dolphinaria Are Not educational Facilities

Currently there are hundreds of dolphinaria all over the world and more are being established all the time. A dolphinarium is a place where you can see dolphins perform or where you can swim with the dolphins. The first dophinarium to open was in 1938 at Marine Studios in St. Augustine, Florida, USA. Most countries that have dolphinaria also have laws in place that protect against animal cruelty, but these laws do not apply to dolphins held in captivity. Loopholes exist because displaying dolphins publicly for money is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Hunters of dolphins, suppliers and shippers, marketers, park construction workers, trainers etc all cash in.

Some argue that dolphinaria are educational facilities, like zoos, they say that people would never otherwise get to see a dolphin. People visiting a dolphinaria see trained captive dolphins, dolphins held in small concrete cages acting like clowns, not dolphins in their natural habitat, behaving as dolphins normally would. There are millions of animals in this world that people will never get to see and millions of extinct animals people will never get to see. The argument for dolphinaria as educational facilities is a fraud.

Animal Abuse is NOT Entertainment

Animal Abuse is NOT Entertainment
Animal Abuse is NOT Entertainment

Dolphin Captures Are Harmful

Captures of dolphins from the wild are stressful and traumatic. Numerous dolphins die during this process and these numbers are never revealed at the dolphinaria. Many dolphin capture sites exist around the world, the one shown in this photo is in the Maldives. One of the most lucrative places for dolphin capture is in Taiji Japan. Here dolphins are rounded up by the thousands and a select few are captured for dolphinaria around the world. These dolphins sell for as much as $150,000 each.

The remaining dolphins (around 23,000 a year) are herded into a small cove, closed to the public, and slaughtered because they are viewed by Japanese government officials as pests to be eradicated in huge numbers. The meat from these dolphin kills is sold to consumers in Japan and labeled as whale meat (dolphin meat is not a delicacy in Japan and whale meat is). Dolphin meat is high in mercury and far exceeds (by up to 35 times) the recommended levels of mercury which is safe for human consumption. Most consumers in Japan don't even know this is going on and probably would not support it if they did.

An excellent documentary, The Cove, See a trailer for the film below, discusses these practices in detail. To learn more about the horrible tragedies that take place at Taiji in Japan, go here

The image seen here comes from the dolphin defenders. It's an article about hundreds of dolphins captured (shown in the photo) to be sold to tourist hotels and amusement parks.

The Cove Movie Trailer

See The Cove

This award winning documentary film had me in tears, up all night in despair but also spured into action on behalf of the dolphins. I hope everyone can watch this film and become educated about what is going on and take a stand to make a change.

The Cove
The Cove

The Cove is directed by the experienced National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos, who sets about to uncover a shocking (but regular) ritual on the Japanese coast: the herding and slaughter of thousands of bottlenose dolphins in the town of Taiji. A few dolphins are saved during this process, and sold off to aquariums. The rest are crowded together and--away from prying eyes--stabbed to death, their meat sold as food.


Dolphins Suffer While Being Trained To Perform

Many people think that just because the dolphin is smiling they must be happy and love to perform tricks for us. The dolphins 'smile' is the way the dolphin looks, be it performing for you or dead on the floor in front of you, its facial expression does not change.

To train dolphins to behave the way they do in dolphin acts, dolphins are deprived of food. They are not performing because they want to or think its fun.

Dolphins Are Held In Small Concrete Tanks

Dolphins use highly developed sonar to navigate and swim up to 40 miles per day. Being confined in a small concrete tank would be like us living in a hall of mirrors. Their sounds are constantly bouncing back at them day and night, enough to drive them into despair. All dolphins in captivity are treated for ulcers due to the stress that this causes. Many dolphins, in an act of suicide, batter themselves to death against the walls of their prison. Many others commit suicide by holding their breath, others refuse to eat. (Note: this suicide option the dolphin takes is another proof of his self-awareness, without which suicide would never even occur to him.) In addition, the water in these tanks is chemically treated artificial salt water.

This photo and a petition you can sign to to challenge the European dolphinaria industry can be found at

Learn About And Share The Wonder Of Dolphins With Children

Thanks For Visiting - I would love to hear from you

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i cant believe people manage to smile while the dolphins suffer

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i cant believe people manage to smile while the dolphins suffer

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 

      8 years ago

      This is horrible. I had no idea of the suffering and and senseless slaughter of these amazing creatures.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      8 years ago from United States

      We are indeed very cruel "guardians" of our world. The idea that the only way we would ever see them is if they were held captive, is asinine. I have seen more dolphins in the ocean then I have ever seen in captivity. They swim pretty close to the shoreline and we have even had schools of them come to "play" with us when we are swimming next to our sailboats. I love all creatures. In my mind, the question of whether to "house" a creature or allow it to be exist freely in nature has always been about caring for it. Which is more likely to produce a healthy, happy environment? What is good for one, is not always good for another. In the case of whales and/or dolphins, I personally believe they are much better cared for in the ocean and not in a closet. The only exception to my beliefs is in the case of animals that are hunted to extinction. In a perfect world, I would gather them all together in a safe haven and let them live out their lives without fear of harm. I guess that would be called heaven :)

    • sheriangell profile image


      8 years ago

      Sitting here with a lump in my throat as I read this. How tragic and evil. Lensrolled this to my Orcas in Captivity lens.


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