Did you see The Cove – would you do this to a friend?

The Telegraph today says Free flipper! argues scientist

Dolphins should be treated as “non-human persons” and merit special rights above other animals because they are so bright, scientists claim.

Researchers argue that it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in captivity or to kill them for food.

Dolphins have long been recognised as among the most intelligent of animals but many researchers had placed them below chimps, which some studies have found can reach the intelligence levels of three-year-old children.


MY VIEW: I have always been highly unconvinced that marine parks and aquauria were the best places for dophins. Ever since seeing them in relatively tiny pools in small marine centres in New Zealand, I have felt sorry for them! Also, viewing dolphins and whales in the wild where they are naturally spectacular. Recently seeing the film The Cove – has convinced me not only that such amazingly intelligent creatures deserve better, perhaps they should be counted as ‘friends’ just like man’s ‘best friend’ – the dog!


Dolphins in captivity – important role or just plain wrong?

Atlantic bottlenose dolphins perform for the crowds in Las Vegas

Ever since ‘Flipper’ died in his arms, Richard O’Barry has been on a mission to stop the killing and capture of dolphins. This month, as Andrew Johnson reports, that ambition moves one step closer – when the annual slaughter in Taiji, Japan, is exposed to the world in a new film http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/dying-to-make-us-happy-the-bloody-truth-behind-the-dolphinarium-1799837.html

My view: I have always been uncomfortable with the notion of having captive animals in enclosed spaces, and would far rather view them in the wild. My wife and I have gone whale-watching holidays http://www.wdcs.org.uk/ for that reason.  Whilst educational aims for keeping wild animals captive – so children and families who would otherwise not have the opportunity to see and interact with them, are able to learn about them – there are many reports of animals not seeming to be happy – by way of repetitive behaviour – with some dieing much earlier in their lives. These worrying aspects raise questions. 

As a zookeeper in New Zealand, I was very aware of the need for animals to have space and be able to go about their daily lives including displaying normal behaviours. Conservations groups – see links below – are working with zoos and dolphinarium to improve the lives of animals. Providing opportunities for this to happen is one of the greatest challenges of  zoo and dolphiarium.


Two alternative views from The Independent  on Sunday forum

In 2008 Kido Foundation wrote and produced a puppet show for youth depicting in dramatic acts precisely the tragic and despicable facts you write about in this article. WSPA supported this effort.
We did it in puppet theatre form because we believe that reaching the younger ones may bring effective and corageous supporters of marina mammals into homes and families…kids see, learn and question aloud! Thus we aim also at reaching the policy deciding adults. Another angle of the strategy to get people to act and stop the killing and begin to enjoy marine mammals beyond the slavery contract which exists today.

google: kidoprojects’ channel youtube

Dr.Marina Fastigi, Kido Foundation, Grenada WI


Typical O’Barry statement with no scientific foundation. [info]jdd_london wrote:
Sunday, 11 October 2009 at 08:28 am (UTC)“…that the life span of a captive dolphin is reduced from around 25 years in the wild to about five; that half of all dolphins die within 90 days of capture.”

Typical O’Barry statement with no scientific foundation:


It is ironic that anti-captive posters displaying the heading of the article were actually deemed misleading in the UK by the Advertising Standards Authority in the 1980s after a complaint by Dr Margaret Klinowska the author IUCN Red Data book on whale and dolphins.

And this is something that O’Barry may not be so keen for people to know:




http://www.wspa.org.uk/ WSPA is working towards a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty ends.

http://www.bornfree.org.uk/International wildlife charity working to prevent cruelty and alleviate suffering.

http://www.eaza.net/Pages/European%20Association%20of%20Zoos%20and%20Aquaria.aspx Promotes co-operation for furthering wildlife conservation, particularly through European Endangered Species Programmes (EEP).