- Animal Welfare Act RA 8485
- RA 10631 Amended AWA
- AWA Rules & Regulations
The Sadness Behind the Smile
WHY ARE WE AGAINST WHALE AND DOLPHIN SHOWS?
Dolphin and whale shows promote the capturing of these animals from the wild. The captive dolphin industry destroys close-knit dolphin families. Many of these animals died eventually from stress-related illness caused by their being torn apart from their pods (families). Note: Two (2) false killer whales from the Ocean Adventure in Subic Bay already died.
Q - WHY DO DOLPHINS APPEAR TO ENJOY PERFORMING IN MARINE PARKS?
Dolphins appear to smile because of how their mouths are shaped; it isn't a reflection of their emotional state. Captive dolphins and whales are trained to perform desire behaviors in order to obtain a food reward. In the wild, they eat only live fish, while in captivity, they are fed dead fish. Their natural free-loving spirit is gradually destroyed, leaving them at the mercy of their trainers.
Q - AREN'T OCEANARIUMS SPECIALLY DESIGNED TO SIMULATE THE NATURAL HABITAT OF THE DOLPHINS?
NO oceanariums or marine parks can ever recreate the natural habitat of these animals. Dolphins swim up to 40 miles a day. To simulate this, a dolphin will have to circle its pen or tank more than 3500 times every day. They can dive to a depth of 1640 feet or 500 meters, and stay submerged for 20 minutes. Some facilities use artificial seawater or chlorinated water, which damages their eyes. Each one of these animals excretes 4 to 5 times more waste than an average human. In their confinements, they are practically swimming in their own toilets.
Captivity also prevents the dolphins from effectively using their sonar abilities. Because of the all-around fences or walls, their sonar signals bounce back at them. It's like sitting in a steel barrel while people pound on the outside with a hammer.
To get an idea of what it is like to be a captive dolphin, imagine spending the rest of your life blindfolded and trapped in a prison the size of a closet.
Q - DON'T MARINE PARKS HELP EDUCATE US ABOUT DOLPHINS AND WHALES?
To learn about the many complex behaviors of an animal species, it is but logical to study them in their natural habitat - free from human intervention. Many shows like Discovery and Animal Planet have become a rich source of information concerning marine wildlife. Forcing animals to perform silly tricks for the public is nothing more than cheap circus. The only lesson imparted to the children is "You can make money by exploiting wildlife"
Q - DON'T THESE FACILITIES HELP IN THE CONSERVATION OF MARINE ANIMALS?
Conservation of wildlife means ensuring that an animal's ability to survive in the wild is preserved, in the event that the animal will be release back into the wild. What facilities like marine parks and oceanariums do is the exact opposite - they capture animals from the wild and systematically destroy their natural ability to survive in the wild.
Because these facilities provide a constant market for captured wild dolphins and whales, whaling industries like the cruel Japanese Drive Fishery are encouraged to continue operating, thus further destroying marine ecology.
Q - WHAT IF THE DOLPHINS CAME FROM CAPTIVE BREEDING FACILITIES AND NOT FROM THE WILD - IS THAT ACCEPTABLE?
Again NO. Captive breeders still need to get their dolphins from the wild. Just like the dolphins and whales in marine parks, those living in breeding facilities are subjected to the same unnatural conditions. Most of these dolphins will eventually be sold to marine parks. What little semblance of family and mutual bonding they have developed among one another in captivity, will eventually be shattered.
Q - IF MARINE PARKS ARE BAD, WHY DO WE ALLOW ZOOS?
There is a trend now to recreate as much as possible the natural environment of animals kept in zoos. One of the results of this trend is the safari zoo found in some countries. Most zoos though, fell short of expectation, due to limitation of existing space, insufficient funding and ignorance or indifference on the part of local authorities. A more promising concept is that of protected sanctuaries, where the animals are allowed to live in huge tracts of land that closely resembles their original habitat, and free from human meddling.
The meteoric rise in the awareness of animal rights and environmental concerns, among many countries, during the last 200 years has compelled many of us to re-evaluate the way we treat our planet Earth and her inhabitants in the animal kingdom.
Compared to zoos, marine parks are a relatively new idea. Operators of these facilities should learn from their counterparts in zoos, and not repeat the same mistakes or create a new problem.
Q - DON'T MARINE PARKS RESCUE DOLPHINS AND WHALES FROM FISHERMEN, THUS PREVENTING THEM FROM BEING KILLED?
There is an analogy to this; if someone rescued a beautiful woman from certain death, only to exploit her for profit, will that make him right? The fact is the captive show industry presents one of the biggest incentives for those fishermen to continue their cruel trade. Sure, those dolphins that were bought by the marine parks were momentarily prevented from being killed, but in the end, these poor animals will be subjected to another form of killing - a slow death in an aquatic prison.
If we are sincerely concern about the welfare of these highly intelligent creatures, and the survival of our fragile ecosystem, we should stop exploiting what remains of our wildlife. We should not allow ourselves to be deceived by marketing ploys of people, whose only objective is to generate profits at the expense of these animals.
As the saying goes; "The Killing Stops, When the Buying Stops"
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