Many of us grew up with an iconic marine mammal television star - Flipper, Willy, and now there's Dolphin Tale. Several of us have probably seen these creatures housed in captivity, at a place such as Sea World. And some of us are probably familiar with a case in which a trainer has been killed by one of these captive animals.
Many emotions are likely involved with these captive animals - whether emotions of excitement and awe, as you get up close and personal with them, only a slab of glass between you and them as you stare into their eyes - or emotions of sadness and guilt as you get up close and personal with them, only a slab of glass between you and them as you stare into their eyes.
I must admit, recently on a trip to San Diego, as I found I had a day to kill and could take my young daughter anywhere I wanted to kill it, I had to remind myself of all the reasons I should NOT go to Sea World. Instead, we spent the day at the coast, looking at wild harbor seals and playing in the sand. I was tempting, but I couldn't justify it.
I recently watched The Cove, and it broke my heart. Thousands of dolphins are being slaughtered in Taiji, Japan. "But in a remote, glistening cove, surrounded by barbed wire and “Keep Out” signs, lies a dark reality. It is here, under cover of night, that the fishermen of Taiji, driven by a multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry and an underhanded market for mercury-tainted dolphin meat, engage in an unseen hunt. The nature of what they do is so chilling – and the consequences are so dangerous to human health – they will go to great lengths to halt anyone from seeing it." (To watch it, click here.) If you want to do more, click here and here.
The mastermind behind this, Ric O'Barry, is also outspoken against keeping marine mammals in captivity. As is PETA:
"SeaWorld confines orcas—who often swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild—to concrete tanks that, to them, are the size of a bathtub. They are also forced to perform meaningless tricks for "entertainment." SeaWorld strips animals of everything that is natural and important to them—their families, the open ocean, and their happiness. Animals trapped at SeaWorld often die prematurely from stress and other causes related to captivity, but you can help them today. Explore SeaWorldOfHurt.com to learn more about the abysmal record SeaWorld has, including the premature deaths of countless orcas—and say "No!" to SeaWorld. You can help by refusing to support this cruel industry, which uses animals to make a hefty profit. Please sign the letter to urge SeaWorld to release its animals to coastal sanctuaries and never purchase tickets to SeaWorld."
To distill it down - if you are opposed to these animals being kept in captivity, sign this letter and never purchase tickets to places that display them. If you are not opposed to it, well - I hope you've read all the supporting evidence and thought it over. If you have and still can't see reason to oppose it, that is your choice!