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It's a shame it was in the Mail, but it's about time a mainstream paper covered this

(129 Posts)
ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 05-Jan-13 18:32:28

This is barbaric, revolting and upsetting and I don't like linking to DM articles, but it needs to be said and talked about and spread. People have been bravely campaigning against this atrocity for years yet it continues. Please be assured that every time you visit a place like SeaWorld that, no matter what they tell you, you are helping perpetuate this hideous, hideous trade.

I have talked about this on MN before and have had outraged mummies telling me I am trying to spoil their children's fun hmm

cory Mon 07-Jan-13 18:13:39

LentilAsAnything Sat 05-Jan-13 22:04:22
"I did look at the link, I am already well-aware if what goes on.
ALL captivity is wrong though. Just because they are caught or bred in less bloody ways does not make it ok."

Are you sure? Even if it is a project for breeding e.g. tropical fish that are threatened or extinct in the wild due to habitat depletion?

I am involved in this sort of thing: it's not a substitute for care for the environment; just a recognition that habitat destruction can happen very quickly and once a species is gone you can't get it back simply by restoring the habitat.

The London Aquarium does quite a bit of that sort of work, as well as informing the general public of the threat not just to big and cuddly animals like whales, but also to less photogenic ones. Recently they sent out a call to experienced hobbyists for breeding stock of some species that are either extinct in the wild or nearing extinction, often because they live in a single brook or pond in somewhere like Mexico and are very vulnerable to the sudden building of a factory or a road, or even to a growth of population (with corresponding greater water use) in the local village.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 07-Jan-13 18:18:06

(though personally I wouldn't fancy cuddling a sperm whale for instance. Or an orca. I have always wondered why people are so keen to get in a pool with the ocean's top predator).

edam Mon 07-Jan-13 23:08:47


I was lucky enough to see wild dolphins (one swam under our boat!) and it was such a joyful experience. And then to read about this...

edam Mon 07-Jan-13 23:11:11

ooh yeah, did you ever see that documentary where the orca separated the baby whale (the white ones with the big heads who only have one baby, and swim up the Pacific coast every year to the Arctic) from its mother, rolling in between, them, fighting for hours until the poor mother and child were exhausted, and then had the baby for breakfast? Horrible. But nature's way and all that, unlike the ruddy humans exploiting dolphins.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 08-Jan-13 13:25:09

Thank you for this thread.

It's a really important issue but it gets ignored so often. I have tried to make the point on threads on MN in the past where people are raving about what a brilliant time they had at Sea World, Discovery Cove etc, but it just gets lost, or like you say in your OP, you get accused of trying to spoil people's fun.

babyboomersrock Tue 08-Jan-13 23:14:26

I know what you mean, CloudsAndTrees but it's important to keep mentioning it nonetheless, isn't it?

It's hard when you feel like some kind of party-pooper, but those poor creatures have few people to speak for them - and I always hope that when I mention the cruelty it will open even one person's eyes.

I haven't been on here long, but I'll try to make sure I comment on those threads in future.

Gingersstuff Tue 08-Jan-13 23:33:03

Ariel, so glad you've posted this...I've been following this campaign for the last few years and it's often felt like banging my head against a brick wall trying to get people to listen. It's been hushed up for so long but the British press are starting to pick up on it and like you, not a great fan of the DM but hey, if it works....if we could get some sort of campaign going here on MN I'm sure it would make a massive difference and get people thinking about exactly what their holiday money is paying for. Someone also suggested that travel agents should be targeted for selling these "experiences" to tourists. It's a bloody disgrace that this kind of thing is still going on in the 21st century. Someone else once said "You may choose to turn and look the other eay, but you can never again say you did not know".

MrsPoglesWood Tue 08-Jan-13 23:33:26

Very well done Ariel for highlighting this. I have never understood the desire that some people have to swim with captive dolphins. I very strongly believe that only very endangered species should be in zoos/aquariums for breeding programs that will allow them to be released into the wild to repopulate. They shouldn't be entertainment. Btw has anyone seen the sketch by Bill Bailey where he likens our dolphin swimming desires with other cultures 'climbing in with the cows and scrabbling about a bit? Very sobering.

And I say this as someone who aged 5 was pushed around the aquarium in a dinghy by Flipper and Jenky, the beautiful dolphins at Peaseholm Park in 1975 whilst the audience cheered. Yes I absolutely loved it but I wouldn't have done it if I'd known then what I know now.

Gingersstuff Tue 08-Jan-13 23:33:26

way not eay!!

runningforthebusinheels Wed 09-Jan-13 00:10:25

Thanks for raising awareness OP. Shocking and barbaric, I honestly had no idea.

Can I ask about Windsor Safari Park? I don't know if they still do it, but I saw dolphins and a killer whale there as a child.

We've been to the London Aquarium and it is fantastic - but they had 4 sharks when we went in the 'biggest aquarium in Europe' or something. I have a fondness for sharks as well as whales and dolphins, and I felt for the sharks just swimming in endless circles.

MrsPoglesWood Wed 09-Jan-13 00:49:10

I felt for the sharks in that Chinese shopping centre where the tank ruptured a couple of weeks back. I was horrified at the footage of the poor sharks flapping about for survival whilst morons just filmed them. There was no effort whatsoever to save them and they were tiny little things, two feet long max. Far more entertaining to film them striving for life and dying than to do anything to help them.

But then when you're drying out several thousand shark fins on a roof top that you think the media can't see why bother with trying to save three sharks from an aquarium?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 09-Jan-13 08:41:14

Aah shark finning. Another thread in the offing. Unfortunately it is easier to make people care about smiley, clever dolphins than cold, dead eyed sharks hmm. But you have to start somewhere.

Windsor doesn't have any any more running. There are no captive facilities in the UK because of public pressure. If more people knew about the situation, then this pressure could be extended to the States and Europe, and ultimately Japan. "Every journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step" as someone clever and wise once said <vague>

CloudsAndTrees Wed 09-Jan-13 13:54:06

Windsor Safari Park has been Legoland for about twenty years now I think.

BabyBoomers, I agree, we can't stop talking about it, I just wish more people were prepared to face up to the reality of what is happening.

The Cove and Sharkwater should be compulsory viewing for every person living in the developed world.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 10-Jan-13 14:09:39

If anyone still had any doubts about dolphins in captivity, show them this

(I promise it's the best thing you'll see all day grin )

MrsPoglesWood Fri 11-Jan-13 00:50:30

Fabulous Ariel thanks for linking!

BegoniaBampot Fri 11-Jan-13 09:54:24

I've dived with Dolphins in Eilat, but they claim that the dolphins there have access to the open sea and come and go as they please. Sure they also tell you not to try and touch them but just let the dolphins do their own thing.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 11-Jan-13 09:59:20

Love that video Ariel!

Begonia, I am envy I've never been lucky enough to see dolphins while diving, although I swear I heard some once. Where in Eliat were you? I can well believe they come to play from what I have seen of them from dive boats!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 11-Jan-13 10:01:37

Begonia, do you mind me asking whether the dolphins in Eilat were in some kind of pen or enclosure? Were they in open water and fed? Or did they just turn up?

How did it work?

BegoniaBampot Fri 11-Jan-13 10:10:54

They advertise it as a dolphin reef. They have a beach, facilities and an enclosure of sorts but say the enclosure is open to the sea for the dolphins to come and go as they please. You can watch from the shore, snorkel and dive and hopefully the dolphins will be around. Think they come back for the food and seem to like interacting with people. We were lucky that they came up very, very close and we are told not to touch them but just let them do their thing. I hope it is as they advertise it, it was a great experience.g

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 11-Jan-13 10:14:30

I dunno sad The feeding thing doesn't sit right. Wild animals shouldn't be fed sad. It makes them dependent - they will have been coming back for the food. Really sorry if I seem judgey - it's just these places are awfully clever and know what to say to people.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 11-Jan-13 10:19:42

Hmm.. I suppose whether an operation like that is ethical or not depends on how much they are fed. Although I don't have much knowledge in this area so I might be wrong, and I'm happy to be educated! I'd worry that if they are fed too much then it would disrupt their natural feeding habits.

I had the same worry when I went diving in the Bahamas where there is a widely advertised shark feed dive. I reluctantly did the dive with the rest of my dive club and the centre was very reassuring that sharks are not disturbed by it because they keep feeding to a minimum. The sharks that turned up didn't get to eat much, if at all, and I questioned whether the anticipation of food and then not getting it was likely to do damage. They said not, as this occurs in nature anyway, but I'm not sure. It was obvious that the sharks were there from their own free will though as it was in the middle of the ocean, and you saw them frequently in the surrounding areas when no feeding was happening.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 11-Jan-13 10:21:02

Agree completely with your last post Ariel. I'm not entirely comfortable with the whole thing either, despite my last post!

I suppose that instinct should tell me something really. If it seems wrong it probably is, despite reassurances otherwise.

BegoniaBampot Fri 11-Jan-13 10:49:32

Not judgey, in a bad way anyway. It's good to talk about this stuff and question things.

Solo Fri 11-Jan-13 11:59:36

I swam with wild dolphins in Australia about 11 years ago; it was around the Perth area.
We were told that we'd be taken out in the boat and that they could not guarantee a sighting of them or a swim with them as they were completely wild. They also said that the pod that they see hears their boat and usually comes to play! we were lucky enough to have the dolphins come to us and we swam with them smile we were told that we must not touch them as the sunscreens etc on us can cause cancers to their skin. We all wore belts and were linked to one another and pulled around the water by a boat/staff member who used a tow machine 'thing' to pull us around. The dolphins swam around and around with us, it was the best experience ever.

I wouldn't swim with or go to see captive dolphins or whales; it's just not right. I'm so sad to see your link to the DM op; it has to be stopped somehow, but these countries seem to have a very unfeeling population.

ThatBintAgain Fri 11-Jan-13 12:05:07

I saw a whole school of dolphins in the sea in North Devon, it took my breath away. Was bloody glad I'd just got out of the water though or I'd have had a heart attack! grin

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