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Dolphins In Captivity - Steps To End Cruelty To Animals

Updated on October 26, 2011

Dolphin Captivity

Dolphins are some of the most intelligent creatures on Earth and their captivity is a huge problem. Dolphins are captured in the wild and shipped to aquariums such as Sea World and trained for peoples amusement. There are also several events marketing an experience to touch and play with dolphins and as this sounds amazing, there are several things to consider. In their capture, dolphins are not treated well and many are unable to survive. Dolphins can live for decades in the wild, but in captivity their life expectancy can be as low as 5 years. In captivity, dolphins are subject to swimming in small pools full of chemicals, often starved so they will perform tricks for food, and develop numerous stress-related disorders.

There is a great interview with Dr. Lori Marino, a neuroscientist and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology and faculty affiliate of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. She makes reference to evidence of behavioral changes and abnormalities in animals held in captivity, and dolphins are not an exception. There is also evidence that stress increases can cause damage to an animal in the form of self mutilation. She also states that claims of a dolphin show being educational are unfounded and unsupported.

Dolphins are also such intelligent creatures, demonstrating self awareness, numerical continuity, complex play behavior, and creativity. Dolphins do not belong in captivity and I encourage everyone to take a step to stop the mistreatment of such amazing beings.

The Cove Trailer

Dolphins in Japan & The Cove

In Taiji, Japan more than 20,000 dolphins are slaughtered every year. Some dolphins are sent to dolphinariums worldwide for human entertainment while others are packaged for food, posing a risk of mercury poisoning to humans. Dolphin meat is often disguised as other forms of fish and was even distributed in school lunch programs in Japan.

The Cove is a movie made in 2009 to expose the senseless killing of these dolphins every year and won an Academy Award for best documentary. The goal of the movie was to halt the killing of these dolphins and to change the fishing practices in Japan. It is a visceral movie that commands a call to action and educates its audience to one of the cruelest forms of animal abuse today.

Click to Help Save Japan Dolphins

"The Cove" - A Movie Everyone Should See

Ways to Fight Dolphin Captivity

Several things can be done to fight the capture and mistreatment of dolphins. One simple way is to make a choice to not support large aquariums where dolphions are held. This can be as simple as not purchasing a ticket to dolphin shows.

Another great way is to get actively involved. There is a great website that helps to raise awareness and money to fight the capture and brutal killing of so many dolphins. Please check them out on the website Causes and sign up to spread the word and donate money if able.

Many of the links below have other ways to get involved with contact ionformation if one truly desires to be involved and active as possible.

Dolphin Project


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      JPatton444 6 years ago

      People admire SeaWorld for the rescue/aid work that they do.

      I think the cetaceans (dolphins and whales) that are trapped in the entertainment business deserve a rescue.

      Look at the parks from the perspective of Google maps and notice how small the enclosures really are. Zoom in. You'll see a spot of blue water surrounded by an ocean of land.

      The dolphins are living in a 'teacup' compared to the natural ocean environment.

      And they're not living there temporarily for a day or a week---but for a lifetime.

      Defenders of the park like to point out that you're not an expert as a way to discredit you. But it makes no difference if you are an expert---everyone gets slammed who says something negative about SeaWorld.

      Well, SeaWorld isn't above taking some criticism. They're selling fantasy and escapism---not curing cancer.

      Where there is greed, hypocrisy, and deception let there be transparency.

      Watch The Cove---a film about dolphins that has won more awards than any other documentary in history.

      Thanks for the hub, Matt.

    • profile image

      STOP the Cruelty to Dolphins NOW 6 years ago

      People just don't get the intolerable cruelty that takes place each year in Japan with the unnecessary slaughter of dolphins. This is the reason I would never tour Asia, especially Japan. The Japanese are disgusting and have no respect for anything except themselves. Shame on you Japan. STOP the dolphin slaughter immediately. Imagine if we could slaughter your families. You are wrong Japan and behind the times. Please get your country into the 21st century and realize the world does not tolerate your intolerable acts of suffering and cruelty. Shame on you Japan. Bad karma Japan. You are wrong.

    • dptsurfer profile image

      dptsurfer 6 years ago from Bay Area, CA

      Great job Matt!

    • BWD316 profile image

      Brian Dooling 6 years ago from Connecticut

      Awesome hub! I just wrote a hub about my top five environmental movies and The Cove was number one. Its so hard to watch but i think everyone needs to see it. It's genocide and slavery of another species and to make it even sadder, like you point out in the hubs Dolphins have similar qualities to humans, like emotions. voted up and i'm going to tweet this hub.