My turn finally came…I was eye to eye with her…then I saw the look…the same look that I had seen so many times in 2008…at the oncologist’s office…in the chemo suite…and in the mirror. The look of complete despair…of hopelessness…of a soul trying to find a life she once had.
I came home and absorbed everything I could about marine mammals in captivity. I watched The Cove, A Fall from Freedom and the 2010 Congressional Hearings. I have followed Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians, who have been are on the ground in Taiji to shine a light on the cruel dolphin drive hunt, since September 2010. I have viewed almost every available piece of footage on dolphins and whales taken into captivity. I can tell you with great certainty that none go willingly. There is NOTHING humane about the process of being netted and hoisted from the sea, from one’s home, from one’s family, from one’s life. There is no humanity in this process and there is certainly no dignity afforded to those souls who will spend the rest of their lives in captivity.
The captive experience is equivalent to jail, except the dolphins committed no crime and have no hope of parole. In the wild, they go wherever they want, swimming for miles on end in whatever direction they please and with their extended families. In captivity, they are torn from their families and forced into a finite (and often chlorinated) space. Wild dolphins catch and eat live fish. Captive dolphins eat dead fish that is typically stuffed with anti-depressants, antacids and other drugs to address the numerous health issues that plague them. Ultimately, the lifespan of a captive dolphin is significantly shorter than its wild counterparts.
I am here to say emphatically that the capture, transport, display and captive breeding of dolphins is the very definition of inhumane! Wild dolphins belong in the wild. Dolphins, beluga whales and orcas are not here to entertain us. They aren’t “smiling” because they are happy – they are smiling because that is the way their faces are built. They aren’t kissing you and posing for dumb photos because they love you, they are doing so because they won’t be fed otherwise. Dolphins are wild animals; they belong to the oceans. They do not belong to humanity.
Once you know better, you have a moral obligation to do better.