“Whales and dolphins enjoy captivity!” And Other Useless Pro-Captivity Arguments


A member of the Cetacean Inspiration Facebook Page  just posted an interesting quote by a pro-dolphinarium blogger from the website “Florida backroads travel.com.” I’d like to break down the quote for you because this blogger uses many popular pro-captivity arguments that many pro-caps make. All of them need to be addressed.

“These so-called ‘animal rights activists’ should channel their efforts to a more worthwhile cause such as stopping the wholesale slaughter of dolphins in Japan than harassing oceanaria!”

Oceanaria are a simulator of the dolphin drive fisheries in Japan. Upon hearing this, many captivity supporters will jump to SeaWorld’s defense saying that SeaWorld doesn’t buy from the drive fisheries. They would be correct. But SeaWorld in the past has directly stimulated the fisheries and recently has indirectly stimulated them by supporting offshore facilities that do buyfrom the Japanese slaughters. One thing that doesn’t seem to cross

Russian belugas at Vladivostok, a marine-mammal supplier, are crammed into tiny pools where they wait to be sold to various marine parks around the world.

their minds is that SeaWorld isn’t the only marine park out there. Many oceanariums around the world buy dolphins from the drive fisheries and capture them right out of the ocean. Most marine parks do not have captive breeding programs. Oceanariums play a large role in the continuation of the slaughter.

I’ve heard this argument lot from captivity supporters. “Why are you going after marine parks when dolphins are being killed by the thousands in Japan!? That is the bigger issue!” First, I would ask why captivity supporters are upset at animal activists for “doing nothing,” about the slaughter when their favourite marine parks who are powerfully influential, sit idly by and do nothing. So a better question is: instead of asking individual activists to do something about the slaughter, why don’t you ask your favourite marine park?

 “There is nothing wrong with keeping cetaceans in captivity. As a former Sea World employee I can assure you that these creatures receive better care than most humans. How many people do you know get blood work done on a monthly basis?”

Captive animals receive annual blood work and medical exams, vitamins, medications, injections, daily exercise to keep them occupied, and care from the world’s best marine-mammal vets. Even with all of this top-knotch care, there is little chance of these creatures reaching their average lifespan. All of the blood work and exams are there to keep the animals alive so the company can milk more money out of them. So yes, the animals are surviving (barely) they are certainly not thriving.

“And why did these ‘activists’ suddenly climb out from under their rock to harass oceanaria within the past twenty years while dolphins have been maintained in captivity since 1938.”

Dolphins have been in captivity since 1938 but dolphinariums were hardly popular enough for people to consider, or even know about them. Once they became popular in the 1960’s, protests began. Protests against captive whales began from the beginning when the first orca, Namu, was captured for captivity in the 1960’s. Activists against captivity have been around for nearly 50 years.

 “Captive cetaceans are ambassadors for their species. Without maintaining them in captivity how many boys and girls do you know will have the opportunity to go to see and see them in their natural environment?”

Observing an animal is not a prerequisite for caring about them. Many boys and girls will never see a snow leopard, but we should not bring them out of the mountains, cage them up and make them do tricks so that children can see them. It is not about education, it is about money. Many of these animal “ambassadors” have never even seen their natural environment.

 And whales and dolphins enjoy captivity . . . they are better off in Marinelands and Sea Worlds and Seaquariums than they are in the ocean – especially Japan’s ocean!”

Of course this person is attempting to speak for the animals when they say that cetaceans “enjoy” captivity. But are dolphins really better off at SeaWorld? They are so much more better off that they die sooner and more often? That they experience confinement and aggression, an unnatural environment? What this person is arguing is that it’s okay to take away the animal’s freedom and right to pursue their own life in order

In the 1960’s, the popularity of dolphin captivity grew, and along with it came protests.

for them to gain protection from predators and to have food handed to them. Of course, we know that the same could apply to keeping humans in prison! Which makes the argument corrupt.

“Love animals: God has given them in rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy. Do not harass them. Do not deprive them of their happiness. Do not work against God’s intent.” – Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky

To learn more about how oceanariums are involved in the dolphin slaughter read this article: Are Your Favorite Marine Parks Connected to the Dolphin Slaughter?

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One thought on ““Whales and dolphins enjoy captivity!” And Other Useless Pro-Captivity Arguments

  1. First off, I have read through your blog and enjoyed every bit of it. Secondly, I just had to leave a comment on this entry, as there was one pro-cap argument that has always bothered me.

    Captivity enabling people to see their favourite animals up close.

    Where I live, there are no captive orcas, (and only a couple of cities have captive dolphins) and while there are wild orcas around, trying to find them on local whale-watching tours is usually hit-and-miss. They have been my favourite animal when I was a kid and they still are, to the point that I have longed to see at least one in the flesh.

    However, my location and my current financial situation makes this impossible, and the pro-cap argument that places like SeaWorld enables people to see their favourite animals up-close is rendered invalid. I can’t afford whale-watch tours let alone a flight half-way across the world to the U.S. And pro-caps, if I had the money, I’d at least exhaust my options on trying to see them in the wild before I’d resort to places like SeaWorld. And from my location the nearest marine park with orcas is in Japan (again, if I chose to go to a marine park in the first place).

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