Sunday, October 24, 2010 In Honor of My Favorite Animals Ever...

Heres a persuasive essay I wrote for school. It's about the intelligence of Dolphins and why you shouldn't visit places that have them... Please read, though its long!

20,000 dolphins are brutally murdered each October in Taiji, Japan. The several hundred that are spared from death are only imprisoned for the rest of their lives. Little know about this slaughter, but many more know of the entertainment
provided by those survivors. It’s barbarous and cruel to keep dolphins in captivity.

Intelligence in the animal kingdom is an often debated issue by scientists. There is no actual way to measure intelligence, but many studies performed on dolphins (particularly Bottlenose) have come out with incredible results that surpass those of any creature other than humans. To start, dolphins have intricate brains that are very large for their body size. Bottlenose dolphins, the ones most commonly held in captivity, are one of only four animals in the world that are self aware. This meaning they are able to recognize themselves in a mirror as opposed to thinking it is another animal. Dolphins have distinct personalities that separate them from other dolphins. They also experience complex emotions. Every animal has an area for emotion in their brains but dolphins are enlarged. Also, social bonds and friendships can be established with other dolphins and other animals. They can think about the future and problem solve. They have also been known to protect humans in danger.

For example, a man was surfing not far off shore when a great white shark attacked him, literally peeling off the skin on his back and latching onto his leg. He was able to kick the shark to release his leg, but he had no means off escaping with this shark on his tail. A pod of dolphins came to the rescue, performing a protective ring around him, allowing him to escape (today.msnbc). Similar incidents with this same behavior by dolphins has been exhibited many, many times, even tracing back to the Greeks. Dolphins also learn the same way we do: through imitation. For example: “According to zoologist Anuschka de Rohan, a nursing baby dolphin watched a human smoking, drank a mouthful of milk and then spat it out to mimic the smoker” ("Deep Thinkers", The Guardian 3 July 2003). Surprisingly, dolphins also have a sense of humor. Dolphins have been known to silently move behind unsuspecting pelicans and grab at its tail feathers. Other pranks include grabbing unsuspecting fish by the tail, pulling them backward a few feet as well as bothering slow turtles by rolling them over and over. Once a dolphin was seen placing a piece of squid near a grouper's “rock cranny”. When the fish came out, the dolphin snatched the bait away, leaving the puzzled fish behind.

A nine year study concluded that dolphins had cognitive abilities and other human like features that make them more intelligent than even great apes( With all these amazing abilities, it makes sense that dolphins can experience intense emotions, experience distress and psychological trauma as well.
You might of heard from many aquariums and amusement parks that they obtain their dolphins through breeding programs within the facility. In the eastern world, it’s a completely different story. The sources of many of the dolphins originate from the great slaughter in Japan, that kill’s approximately 20,000. Dolphins are scooped with hooks onto boats, and only those who are perfect with no scratches are saved from death and sold to amusement parks across Japan and Asia. 53% of dolphins die within 3 days of capture.
Just because dolphins are bred within a facility does not make it right. Claims that they are preserving the environment are completely false. Dolphins born in captivity cannot be released into the wild. They just replace the spots of those who died, growing the industry.

Many conditions in amusement and marine parks do not offer proper conditions to meet the needs of dolphins. Blaring music and other factors can damage their ears. Dolphins can get bored, and will often float lifelessly at the surface of the water out of boredom. In the wild, dolphins swim up to 40 miles a day. Small enclosures make this impossible. They are highly social, and can become emotionally harmed. Dolphins are forced to work 12 hours a day for their whole life, with no or little break time. They are often starved, so they are ensured to perform. They suffer from extreme boredom. ( Out of anger, many will either attack other humans (such as the Orca attack that resulted in the death of a trainer this year) or turn to self-mutilation, such as banging their heads against walls. Many if not all of the dolphins that die in captivity, are due to stress related issues. (
No matter how clean or large a facility is, it will never be able to measure up to the emotional and social interaction needed by dolphins.

When you visit an aquarium with dolphins in it, you are supporting the people that cause the pain and death of dolphins. Next time you consider a trip to Sea World, really think about it. Would you want to support the suffering?


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