There is good news in the midst of what is a very disheartening topic. Documentaries such as The Cove, and organizations, including Sea Shepherd, have shed a global light on this issue. Their images, reports, and videos have helped other people realize how dolphins are hunted, captured, and then either killed or held in captivity. More and more people are becoming aware of how they are connected, as I did after visiting SeaWorld, and deciding to stand against the annual dolphin hunts. OneGreenPlanet.org reported the 2013-2014 hunting season saw the lowest number of dolphins killed. One Green Planet mentions several reasons for the lower numbers, but includes policy changes at The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and individual countries taking a stand against the hunts are having an impact.
These associations and government agencies are taking action, in part, due to citizen activism. They are listening to the collective voices of individuals around the world who are speaking up for the dolphins. There are still many things we can do to take action to help keep dolphins safe and in their natural environment.
We can contact purveyors of “swim with the dolphins” programs to explain that the cruelties dolphins suffer while being captured and then held in captivity (or slaughtered) is the reason we do not support these programs and are taking a stand against them. This can also apply to zoos and aquariums. Dolphins are not the only animals who are hunted and taken from their homes. Orcas have been captured for marine mammal parks, elephants captured from the wild are used in circuses, and many other animals are captured for entertainment purposes, hunting excursions, or sold as “exotic pets.” As long as consumers support environments and industries that use animals to entertain us, these hunts will continue. The dilemma we face, of course, is that many of us want to visit zoos and aquariums because we LOVE animals! We do not think of these situations from the animal’s point of view – it took several visits to SeaWorld before this common disconnect became clear to me. I made a decision then not to support cruelty with my consumer dollars. We can choose not to attend these theme parks, aquariums, or zoos – and let them know why. We can also choose not to support organizations, such as Groupon, that sell discount admission tickets to the theme parks or interactive programs – making them aware of why we will no longer purchase items/tickets from their company. We can also contact our senators and local government agencies to garner support from them regarding cruel practices against animals. A quick search on the Internet will return hundreds of places that we can contact – not forgetting to contact SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, and Dolphin Quest as mentioned above. This search will also reveal many organizations that are working towards protecting dolphins and animals and how we can help support their cause. Perhaps mention that this quick search also reveals several organizations and programs working to protect dolphins and animals?
We can use our voice to support and improve the lives of living beings who are not able to speak our language and stand up for themselves.