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Large companies profit from the suffering of dolphins

Large companies profit from the suffering of dolphins

Swimming with dolphins or going to a show with them is part of a cruel activity disguised as education and well-being. Learn about the reality these animals suffer to change their lives.

Around the world, cetaceans (dolphins, whales, and porpoises) are taken from the wild and raised in captivity in order to use them for entertainment in tourist sites.

Dolphin species, known for their intelligence and "smile" and many acrobatic skills, are the most common cetaceans found in captivity. In fact, research shows that eight out of every ten cetaceans in captivity are species of dolphins.

From traumatic capture in the wild to being raised for confinement in extremely inappropriate conditions, dolphins and other cetaceans suffer greatly in captivity. Reducing them from complex wild predators to circus-type actors is really degrading. Many experience food deprivation as part of their training, lowering them to beggars who must perform eating tricks.

Keeping dolphins in captivity for entertainment represents no real conservation benefit, much less almost no educational benefit, despite the arguments to the contrary made by marine entertainment sites. For this reason, the protectionist NGO World Animal Protection has launched a new investigation into dolphin entertainment, a multi-billion dollar industry that is being disguised as an innocent and exotic family activity.

The reality of a masked activity

Dolphin entertainment attracts thousands of tourists who, out of ignorance, continue to contribute to this sinister industry, despite being animal lovers. It is that every year, they are convinced by companies such as Expedia and other tourism majors, that these dolphin shows are cruelty-free, educational and for the benefit of conservation, when in truth, the industry receives billions of dollars thanks to the cruel capture of dolphins that are used for human entertainment.

The report, "Behind the Smile" (Behind the Smile, in Spanish), revealed several facts that account for the cruel story behind this millionaire business:

  • There are 336 places that use dolphins for entertainment in 54 countries, including the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and China, countries that gather the largest number of captive dolphins, with a total of 3,029.
  • These captive dolphins annually generate a staggering $ 1.1 to $ 5.5 billion for site owners, not including the additional income they receive from the sale of souvenirs, food and lodging.
  • Dolphins have been, and continue to be, drawn from the wild from the waters around Cuba, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, the Solomon Islands, and West Africa, to name just a few places.
  • More than 60% of all captive dolphins worldwide are found in just five countries: China (23%), Japan (16%), the United States (13%), Mexico (8%), and Russia (5%). ). However, considering the geographical regions, in Mexico, the Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda approximately one in five dolphins are found in captivity worldwide and, therefore, they are important activity points for the industry.
  • Among the tricks performed during the shows, are the dragging of the trainers by the dolphins with their fins in the water or the dolphins carrying the trainers on their backs so that they can surf on the animals or that the cetaceans propel them out of the water with your snout. Furthermore, dolphins are often pulled out of the water to perform stunts or have oversized hats or glasses fitted to them, all to the sound of 110 dB music. This is similar to the volume of a rock concert.

With these numbers in hand, it is clear why this industry is desperate to mislead the public to protect the billions of dollars received at the expense of these animals. Inherent suffering is associated with all stages of the life of captive dolphins; Although dolphins appear smiling and happy, they experience stress and suffering at every stage of their lives.

Sadly, these entertainment venues promote dolphin rescue and rehabilitation and claim to drive conservation efforts, when in truth only 5% - 10% of zoos, dolphinariums, and aquariums are involved in substantial conservation efforts, and the money spent this is often less than 1% of the profits made.

It should be noted that captive-bred dolphins are not endangered, and are not released into the wild, but are used solely to keep the population in captivity, which makes these industry conservation claims nonsense. So why keep holding these empty arguments?

Stunted natural behaviors that can lead to disease

In their natural environment, dolphins swim freely for 100 km2(and even more) in groups of 2 to 40 dolphins, but research has shown that they can live in groups with hundreds of members inclusive.

Therefore, imagine how far removed they are from their natural behaviors when they are stolen from nature to be placed in concrete tanks where they can only swim in a space 200 thousand times smaller than in the oceans, exposed to infections and chemicals, normally drugged to be able to. bear captivity and away from your group.

This creates anxiety and stress, which can cause self-harm and become aggressive.

Nick Stewart, Global Head of the Dolphin Campaign for World Animal Protection argues that “dolphin entertainment is animal cruelty disguised as a family activity. Whether bred in captivity or captured from their natural environment and separated from their mothers, these intelligent and sociable animals are being sentenced to life in prison, and reduced to animals that perform tricks in exchange for food. For a wild animal like a dolphin, a life expectancy in a concrete box is not a life, it is a life sentence: we must make this the last generation of dolphins in captivity.

The companies that sell tickets for these types of shows are profiting from the suffering of these animals, and the ambitious dolphin industry has created a web of lies, in order to be seen as keepers, but not as captors. You just need to see the Expedia Group example. By selling tickets to denigrating shows that exploit animals, they are profiting from the suffering of 500 captive dolphins in 32 entertainment venues around the world.

“The main travel agencies such as Virgin Holidays, TripAdvisor, British Airways Holidays, Booking.com and others have already taken a step forward and led processes to cut alliances with these places. Now is the time for other companies to follow suit. That is why we are calling on Expedia Group and other travel companies to end the sale and promotion of dolphin shows, and in this way we can end their suffering once and for all. "

The truth is that, paradoxically, the entertainment industry also mentions educational opportunities as a reason for the continued captivity of dolphins. However, encouraging visitors to see dolphins in small, narrow tanks offers little information about the complex life of dolphins, let alone understand their natural behavior or way of life.

On the contrary, as we mentioned at the beginning, day after day the dolphins are used as live surfboards, facing large crowds of people with loud music and ovations, and as if that were not enough, they support an endless stream of tourists who they look for the selfie perfect. Is the stress the animal is subjected to is considered education?

This is not education, humanly responsible maintenance.

That is why World Animal Protection is asking people to join the movement to call on the Expedia Group to end the sale and promotion of places that use dolphins for entertainment purposes so that we can make sure that this be the last generation of dolphins in captivity. We need your commitment so that the dolphins return to nature, where they belong.


By World Animal Protection
We want to finish with the unnecessary suffering of animals
We seek to influence decision makers to put animals on the global agenda
We help the world to understand how important animals are to us
We inspire to people to improve the lives of animals
We move the world to protect the animals

Formerly known as WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals)
World Animal Protection. Company Limited by Guarantee in England and Wales. Registration No. 4029540. Registered UK Charity 1081849.


Video: Turn of the tide: Seeing dolphins differently. John Racanelli. TEDxBocaRaton (July 2021).