July 20, 2009
"The Cove": What You Should Know About Dolphins in Captivity
The film “The Cove” shows in graphic detail what happens to hundreds of dolphins hunted and killed every year by fishermen in Taiji, Japan. A few dolphins escape immediate death, only to be sentenced to a lifetime of confinement in amusement parks and aquariums. Whether they’re performing in a tank or used to tow tourists around in a "swim with the dolphins" attraction, whether the facility is obviously sub-par or looks like a lovely place for dolphins to live, the greatest issue is whether they should be in captivity at all.
Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States believe the answer is a resounding “no.” No matter how big the box, it is still a box—keeping animals who are intelligent, highly social, and far-ranging confined is simply inhumane.
If you do go to an aquarium with performing dolphins, or to a “swim with” attraction, be aware that you’re not just having a good time—you are endorsing the practice of capturing these animals from the wild and keeping them captive. But if you do go, HSI and The Humane Society of the United States would like you to think about what you’re seeing.
The website for "The Cove" provides an opportunity to educate many more people about these issues. You can see a map showing locations in the world where whales, dolphins, and porpoises are still hunted, and read a brochure on the site about the captivity issue, with tips on what to look for at an aquarium or “swim with” program. Please download the brochure and share it with others, especially anyone who might be thinking of supporting a place where dolphins are held captive.