Aquariums teach that dolphin ownership is ok

Going to the Georgia Aquarium and other dolphin-owning aquariums and swim-with parks teaches children that they can buy a dolphin when they get rich.  Out of the mouth of babes.

But first, it teaches them to want to own a dolphin.  I believe that the child in the following video says, “when I get rich, I’m gonna buy a dolphin and keep it at my house.”  And we’re not talking toddler here.

A video taken through the glass into the dolphin tank at The Georgia Aquarium. (Edit 11/6/12 – video no longer available.  I would have taken it down, too.  So I totally understand.)

Children do love them.  We shouldn’t teach them to translate this love into a desire for ownership.  This is a teaching moment for parents.  A moment for parents to choose what to teach.

To teach them to love the dolphins enough

  • to let dolphins have the life they were born to, swimming freely with their families in the ocean, or
  • to force them into a life of enslavement, ripped from true “families”, in a small concrete tub, with a glass through which we can see them while we hold them in captivity.

Which worldview are you teaching your children? Your friends?  Yourself?  Are you accepting a worldview, rooted in the past, a day not so long ago, when we did not know what we know today?  When we didn’t know – back when we started capturing them in greater numbers in the 1950s – that they were as intelligent as they are?  When we didn’t have the information or the sensibilities that we have in 2012.  When we didn’t have the awareness that we have, now, in 2012.

The awareness that our children will, when grown, recognize was long-overdue in 2012.  Long overdue.

Make the right choice today.  Make yourself and children proud of the tomorrow you are building.  Don’t go to the dolphin show.

2 responses to “Aquariums teach that dolphin ownership is ok

  1. This is a terrific post and an important reminder! I have been watching wildlife for as long as I can remember. Once I had my son, I starting bringing him along. He has seen dolphins in the wild on numerous occasions. We have also watched whales, moose, manatee, bald eagles, wild horses, deer and other wonderful creatures. I hope I am teaching him to have a love of animals in their natural environment.

  2. Thanks very much! As a parent of a grown son, I wasn’t sure whether I would just offend young parents, which I certainly didn’t want to do. But I wanted them to realize that the young mind is learning very basic lessons that underlie the ones on the surface. So, even if we think we’re teaching a love of animals by going to aquariums, circuses and zoos, it is more basically teaching them that humans can own whatever they want.

    Good for you!!

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