Tag Archives: Save Japan Dolphins

Saving Japan’s Dolphins – Atlanta one of over 100 events worldwide

The Atlanta community is no stranger to dolphins.  But whether it is aware of the issues surrounding keeping dolphins in captivity or the hunting of dolphins for the aquarium industry is another matter.

The Georgia Aquarium houses 11 dolphins, and one, named Shaka, was caught in the wild.

The Georgia Aquarium houses 11 dolphins, and one, named Shaka, was caught in the wild.

The local animal rights community is always ready to stand up to provide the information, which is often lacking elsewhere, in support of the notion that dolphins should be allowed their lives in the wild.  Even before the 11 dolphins and four beluga whales currently held in captivity at The Georgia Aquarium (four beluga whales that have been housed at the Georgia Aquarium have since died) were brought to this land-locked city, activists have stood up for dolphins.  This coming Sunday September 1, they will join over 100 events worldwide and do so again.

The Cove: 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary

The Cove: 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary

Japan Dolphins Day is an event created by Save Japan Dolphins and organized this year by the Facebook community Save Misty the Dolphin.  Launched in 2005, Japan Dolphins Day, was an idea that preceded the release of the Academy Award-winning documentary, The Cove, but followed many years of efforts to make inroads into dolphin capture worldwide.

Why should Atlanta care about what happens in a small village in Taiji, Japan, especially since none of the dolphins at the Georgia Aquarium were caught in Taiji?  The most straight-forward answer to that logical question is that while dolphins have not been intentionally caught in U.S. waters for its aquarium industry in many years, the indirect connection between the U.S. industry and countries where wild dolphins are caught is obvious.

  • The aquarium industry of the rest of the world is recreating the aquarium model developed by that in the United States. One need only to look at the Georgia Aquarium’s own past (via its other property, Marineland) to see that the industry was built on capturing wild dolphins.
  • Members of International Marine Animal Trainers Association – soon to have its annual meeting in Las Vegas – work directly with dolphins captured in Taiji.
  • The Georgia Aquarium is spearheading an effort to import wild-caught marine mammals (beluga whales) into the United States.  Though its application was denied by NOAA, it remains to be seen whether the Georgia Aquarium considers the issue resolved.  It is up to the decision-makers at the Georgia Aquarium and its partners whether they will listen to both the public outcry and the decision of NOAA or will continue to listen exclusively to themselves.
  • As a world community, where dolphins know no borders, it makes little sense to impose our borders on activism.

One local activist, Vivian Liu, had, only a couple of years ago, a season pass to the Georgia Aquarium.  She has come to understand and to teach her children “why we no longer visit places where they hold captive animals for human entertainment. . . Children are innocent and will certainly become what’s being taught.”  This understanding was echoed by former SeaWorld orca trainer John Hargrove in the documentary, Blackfish, now playing at the Midtown Art Cinema, who said that he would never take his three-and-a-half-year-old to the orca show at SeaWorld.  What is being taught, more consistently than anything else at these establishments, is that captivity is cool.  Stephanie Voltolin, an instructor at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, “wouldn’t be anywhere else on September 1” because she knows that “we can make a difference if we can get this information to those who don’t know what’s happening.”

What you can do:

Atlanta location for Japan Dolphins Day

Atlanta location for Japan Dolphins Day September 1, 11:00am – 1:00pm

Don’t put a lid on an animal’s right to be himself

I once had a snake, or rather, a snake had me.  And that snake taught me my first and most important lesson about wild animals and their right to live their own lives.

A garter snake has a right to fully be a garter snake

A garter snake has a right to fully be a garter snake

It happened that during the Summer that I was a rising Second Grader and having a wonderful time at Camp O’Cumberlands, Harlan County, Kentucky, I found a snake.  A juvenile green snake or garter snake – I’m really not sure what species it was – happened across my path behind Cobble Inn, the cabin occupied by the babies of the camp, the First and Second Graders.  Having no fear of snakes, I picked her up, and in animal-loving 6-year-old mindset, I proceeded to convert a quart jar into a terrarium.

I was going for something like this for the snake.

I was going for something like this for the snake.

In just a matter of minutes, I had collected enough moss and sticks and pine needles to create a soft, green, moist, inviting space, where even the fairies would happily rest their wings.  I placed the snake in the jar, into the lovely green softness of the moss, and rested the jar on its side on the ground, under a shrub behind the cobblestone cabin.

But since this was Girl Scout camp, there were other activities to do and schedules to follow, and I had to leave the snake in her new home under the bush.  When I returned that afternoon, and went to check on her, she was gone.

You see, I had not put a lid on the jar. While I was not certain, I was hopeful in a way that only a six-year-old animal lover could be, that she would so love her new moss-lined home, she would not leave.  But she had.  And I cried and cried.  She was gone.  The beautiful, small, green sleekness had gone on her way, and I was sad at the loss of no longer being close to her beauty and her wildness and the pure expression that she was of life.

And even though, having left, I didn’t really expect her to return, I left the jar in the same spot, in case she decided that the little glass moss house was pretty cool after all.  For days, I left the jar.  For days, I checked the jar.  I watched as my tears, which of course seemed to last forever, turned to understanding.

The thing that she taught me was to be moved by wildness, to be moved in watching it and not trying to control it.  To find a kind of full joy in knowing that the snake was never mine.  And should never be mine.  And while I know that some children might feel the sadness that I felt, and go out to find another snake, and to, this time, put the lid on, somehow that didn’t happen to me. I was spared what is likely a more common path of being insensitive to animals’ rights as a child, and having to unlearn some of that selfishness into adulthood.  I feel very fortunate for having been shown that lesson so young.

Make no mistake.  There is a longing and a pang of loss at not being close to the wildness that that six-year-old still feels and of which she frequently reminds me in a visceral way.  A reminder of the bitter sweetness that doing the right thing for wildness is most often to leave it alone, to let it be, even as that means to let it be away from us.

She reminds me to let the wild ones be wild.  And to not put a lid or a tank or a bar or chain on them.  If you love them, she reminds me, let them be themselves.  Let them be free.

Take the pledge that you will not support an industry that thinks that keeping wild marine mammals in concrete tanks is acceptable.  Just say no to the dolphin show.

And this weekend in Atlanta, come out to stand for the rights of circus animals to be wild and free.

Two dolphin videos: you choose

Just a short post to juxtapose two videos.  One I shot holding a camera while I watched (online) the April 2010 Congressional Hearings on Marine Mammal captivity.  Now that I think about it, I don’t think I finished watching the entirety of that hearing, but it’s archived.  And I wrote a few words about it.

Dr. Lori Marino, Dr. Naomi Rose, Louie Psihoyos, and others were empaneled, as were representatives from the aquarium industry.  I don’t know how dolphin experts and advocates, as these individuals are, could sit in the same room with Congressman Young (R, AK) and listen to his line about captivity without becoming physically ill.  Just one snippet from Cong. Young reveals his views that freedom was something that we “let” dolphins have.  Really?  We “let” dolphins have freedom?  Well, that is certainly one way of looking at it.  Apparently the way the aquarium industry, or at least their advocate from the great state of Washington, looks at it.  But let’s get on with watching the two short videos.

Congressman Don Young Republican Alaska

Congressman Don Young (R, AK) doesn’t think that we should “let” dolphins run around loose and wild, well, at least not all of them. Photo by Dennis Zaki, AlaskaReport.com

First is the Congressman who apparently doesn’t think we should “let’ ’em [dolphins, that is] run around loose and wild” even in the face of an aquarium industry where it is still debated whether legitimate education is provided.  I know, I know, Congressman Young.  You want to believe that aquariums are educational.

And here are dolphins, loose and wild, being dolphins, being the exuberance of dolphin-ness.


Doesn’t one of those videos seem like truth and the other like the stories we make up to justify some human agenda.  I know.  It’s as plain as the nose on your face, isn’t it?

As we face the start of the Taiji dolphin drive hunt on September 1, 2012, I’d ask that you keep these two videos in mind.  And remember: two videos, one a justification for an industry, the other a simple glimpse into truth and beauty.

It is now time to tell Taiji, Japan, that it must end its hunting of these marvelous, exuberant creatures.  On August 31 and September 1, 2012, citizens of the world in 93 cities worldwide are standing together on Japan Dolphins Day 2012 to say NO! to the Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt and to anyone who defends dolphin captivity or slaughter, including The Hon. Don Young, and to say YES! to dolphins’ being free, being loose and wild.

The event, founded by Ric O’Barry and Save Japan Dolphins, is coordinated by Save Misty the Dolphin, and you can locate an event near you by visiting the Facebook event page.  Stand with us on this memorable day so that it will be the last time that we need stand shoulder to shoulder to stop a dolphin hunt.

Loose and wild.  All of ’em, Congressman Young.  All  of ’em.

 

Which part of Marineland’s past is it celebrating, AJC?

Not surprisingly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has done yet another “news” report which should be in an “I love to swim with dolphins because they’re cuuuuuuuute” blog or on a newspaper’s Opinion page.  But instead, the AJC markets a story that the Georgia Aquarium wants you to believe.  Because the AJC, as some in Atlanta, including Gay Pride, are having a love affair with domination, control and ownership.

Nellie the world's oldest dolphin in captivity

Nellie, at 59 years old, born in captivity on February 27, 1953, is an anomaly in the captive dolphin industry due to her longevity.  She has seen a lot of dolphins die.

If it’s history we’re talking, here’s a history that the AJC, Marineland and the Georgia Aquarium (which owns Marineland) don’t publicize.  And because record-keeping in the marine mammal captivity industry, as well as the various government agencies that have been tasked with maintaining a marine mammal inventory, haven’t done a stellar job, the statistics are a bit like the tip of the iceberg.

On the basis of the best information we have, compiled by Ceta-base, here is part of Marineland’s history that the AJC didn’t bother telling you, or likely even researching.

                       Species                                             Number Died at Marineland

  • Beaked Whale  (all species)                                           4
  • Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops spp)                          149
  • Common Dolphin (Delphinus spp)                               1
  • Pilot Whale, short-finned (Glob. macro.)                  23
  • Risso’s Dolphin (Grampus griseus)                             2
  • Amazon River Dolphin (Inia geof.)                              8
  • Sperm Whale (dwarf & pygmy)                                    16
  • Spotted Dolphin (Atlantic & Pantropical)                  11
  • Striped Dolphin  (Stenella coer.)                                   1
  • White-sided Dolphin, Pacific (Lagen. obliq.)              2

And while Marineland has been doing some celebrating over time, I’m afraid that some of their celebrations have been short-lived.  There was the news report in the March 4, 1954, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, of Marineland (more honestly called Marine Studios in those days) having bred the first dolphin – or porpoise as both Marineland and the newspaper incorrectly identified her – to have been born to a captive-bred dolphin.  That is, both the mother dolphin named Spray, born on February 26, 1947, and the baby named Peggy were born in captivity.  That didn’t turn out well for baby Peggy.  She didn’t survive the year.  We’re not sure how long she lived.  We also know only that Spray also died, but not when.  Hopefully, Marineland knows.

Before she died, Spray had what appears to be at least five calves.  All appear to be dead.  How many of you mothers can make that claim?  Obviously, you wouldn’t want to.  But Spray had no choice.

Or maybe we can recall the newspaper article where Marineland celebrated the live capture, on January 9, 1964, of a pregnant dolphin.  It would appear that neither the baby nor the mother lived to see 1965.

In a world where one sees these dolphins as fungible property, or props for a dance party, well, these statistics or these examples may lose the sting that they merit.  In that world-view, you lose one, you get another just after you put on your sad face.  And get a newspaper to write another piece celebrating something.

But, in fairness, Marineland has learned a few things over its history.  I will grant them that.  They learned that a dolphin is not the same as a porpoise, or at least I think they learned that.  They also learned to be less than honest in describing what they do with the dolphins.  They used to come out and say that what they do is teach them tricks.  Tricks.  Jumping and splashing on command.  Various tricks.  Now, they like to tell you, oh, they reaaalllly like to tell you, especially during the trick show, that they only teach “behaviors”.  Balderdash.

They got it right the first time.

When folks stop supporting this horrid history by pledging to not go to the dolphin show, that will truly be something to celebrate.

Dolphins swimming free as they should be

Celebrate dolphins swimming free as they should be by not ever going to a dolphin show or swim-with.

Taiji Cove eyes creating a new tradition

Mark the date that this tradition started in Taiji.  Or at least the date that we all became aware of the plan by a very few Taijians to embark on a new form of dolphin treachery.

April 30, 2012.

Jiyu a dolphin who couldn't withstand captivity Taiji Cove

Jiyu a dolphin who couldn't withstand captivity, photo by Heather Hill of Save Japan Dolphins

The date that most of us learned that The Taiji Cove may become a swim-with-the-dolphins experience, instead of just a kill-the dolphins experience, or a capture-the-dolphins-for-the-dolphin-show experience, or a display-the-dolphins experience, or a capture-and-then-fail-to-make-a-dolphin-survive-captivity experience, or an eat-the-dolphins experience.

Seems that the only way these people do not want to experience the dolphins is free.  Living on their own terms, in their own environment.

That’s just sad.  Nope.  Incorrect.  It’s also despicable.

By the way, the hundreds-years-old “tradition”, the one of the Japanese dolphin drive-hunt, appears to have begun in approximately 1980.  Just sayin’.

Here are the various news outlets and bloggers that have reported it thus far:

Marine safari?  Give these people a clue.

 

Do you support dolphin capture? Not if you say No! to the Dolphin Show

Shaka Georgia Aquarium phinventory Ceta-base

Shaka, the Georgia Aquarium's wild-caught dolphin, photo from Ceta-base

How is going to a dolphin show or swim-with program directly linked to the capturing of dolphins?  And why should you pledge to not go to a dolphin show?  Because the dolphin shows create the market for dolphin capture, which, in turn, makes dolphin hunting and slaughter financially feasible enterprises.

Here’s how the captivity chain links up, from freedom all the way to enslavement and back again to freedom:

Link 1At the risk of being too obvious, I’m starting there anyway.  Without dolphins in captivity, the aquariums cannot put on their extravaganzas, their shows or maintain their displays.  So before the dolphin show (yes, there was a time in the 1950s before this jumping dolphin phenom took a strangle-hold over dolphin freedom), there was no impetus to capture them.  Dolphin freedom exists at this end of the chain, where there are no dolphin shows.

Some aquariums already have a few dolphins.  But captive breeding isn’t terribly dependable for producing a live dolphin.  The photo above was of Shaka, wild-caught, now living at the Georgia Aquarium.  Only one of Shaka’s three captive-born calves survived past two weeks; one was stillborn in September 1996, and the other died on her 16th day in November 1997.  Generally, dolphins in the wild give birth only every 2 to 4 years.  The third, Kolohe, will turn 18 on July 12, 2012.  In Hawaii.  Away from Shaka.  Without the need for captive dolphins, dolphins like Shaka would not have been captured.  In 1988.

Link 2Without the dolphin show, yea, that show in a city near you, there would be no need to keep dolphins, like Shaka, or the other ten dolphins at the Georgia Aquarium, in captivity.  And don’t believe the nonsense that captive dolphins are necessary for research.  We really don’t need to study them in captivity to understand how we might support their thriving in their natural, wild ecosystem.  Think about that one; it may catch you on the way home.  Certain marine biologists refuse to study them in captivity.

Without the dolphin show, the show in the city nearest you, no dolphins would be captured anywhere in the world, under any means of dolphin hunting. This includes the dolphin drive hunt in Taiji, Japan.

Without the dolphin show, the show in the city nearest you, dolphins would not be injured or killed by the thousands each year in the process of capturing a few for that show, because generally speaking, the huge profits of selling dolphins to aquariums bankroll the slaughter operation as well.

Link 3:  Without the dolphin show, righto, that one near you, dolphin freedom happens.  I don’t mean to suggest that releasing the captives can happen overnight; I’ve written before about Ric O’Barry’s idea of making the show about rehabilitating the current captive and any future stranded dolphins for life in the wide open blue.  But it can happen if we have the will to do right by the dolphins.

Do you get it?  The dolphin show, yes, the one in the city nearest you, causes – yes, causes – dolphin capture, injury and slaughter.

And every new show can cause that much more capture, injury and slaughter.

But the great news: Two links (Links 1 and 3) have free dolphins, and only one link (Link 2) has captivity.  We have more links for  freedom than against, so it won’t be hard, if we stand together!  When we stop attending the dolphin show (Link 2), we have free dolphins again, as we did before this strange 1950s phenomenon took a strangle-hold over the lives of dolphins.

And if you don’t go to the dolphin show?  Well, I think you get it.

Jacques Cousteau No Aquarium no dolphin in tank can be considered normal

Hold this sign so people know that Jacques Cousteau did not support captivity, from www.marinecaptivityfacts.tumblr.com

What you can doOn Saturday, April 14 from 10a.m to 1p.m., come to the entrance of The Georgia Aquarium to learn about these links and to teach others about them and about the life that a dolphin lives in captivity versus the one it lives in the wild.

Hold a sign that repeats these words of Jacques Cousteau.  Hold a sign with Shaka’s picture.  Or Neile’s.  Or Phebe’s.  Or Pukanala’s.  Or Kei’s.  Or Makana’s.  Or Briland’s.  Or Lily’s.  Or Luna’s.  Or Bermudiana’s.  We don’t have a picture of Salvador.  But we won’t forget him.

Saturday, April 14, 2012; 10am – 2pm  The Georgia Aquarium, entrance on Baker Street

If you are on Facebook, click on the event page and tell us that you’re coming.  And like “Free the Atlanta 11” instead of watching dolphins perform tricks with Star Spinner, who thinks that the dolphins have taken the sea monsters to the bottom of the ocean.

If you aren’t in or near Atlanta, but on Facebook, please click the worldwide “Just Say NO! to the Dolphin Page” created by Save Misty the Dolphin to show that you “get it” and to show your support.

For a more information, see:

  • Save Japan Dolphins, Ric O’Barry and the Cove Monitors
  • Blue Voice, Hardy Jones,
  • Sea Shepherd and its Cove Guardians
  • Save Misty the Dolphin
  • If you have a website or blog on this issue, please leave a comment with your web address, and I will add you to a list of resources on creating dolphin freedom a reality for all dolphins everywhere
    Dolphin captivity chain link

    Dolphin freedom in the first and last links. Dolphin captivity only in the middle one. We can break this chain and re-establish dolphin freedom!

    .

 

Dolphin sighting in The Georgia Aquarium? Is that sick or what?

Only a person who had either (1) not considered the plight of dolphins that have been incorporated into the dolphin display and entertainment industry or (2) considered it but concluded that dolphins have no right to swim in the ocean, would entitle an article “Dolphin Sighting…” and mean at The Georgia Aquarium.  That’s just downright distasteful.  At least to anyone who doesn’t fall into the above two categories.

It’s actually pretty simple.  The pro-caps can’t have it both ways.  Either dolphins have rights to be unmolested and free from human intervention, run over by motor boats, hit over the head by kayak oars, or displayed in a circus; or they don’t.

Shake Georgia Aquarium dolphin wild-caught

Shaka, the Georgia Aquarium's wild-caught dolphin; probably not the one "sighted"; photo from Phinventory

We have laws that prevent us from capturing wild dolphins but the ones we’ve already caught, well, that’s different.  You might think that the laws that prevent new taking rightly reflects that wild dolphins have rights, but the ones that we grow, well, those just don’t have the same rights.  But if we start nicking around the edges at an animal’s rights, it just gets downright illogical.

So, maybe the law has created something more like a privilege for the wild ones to remain unmolested from reckless boaters.  So tomorrow, we could change the law if we wanted, and let boaters run willy-nilly through whale calving grounds or pods of dolphins with babies.  Because it was just a privilege that we were bestowing upon a few wild individual animals.  We wouldn’t really have to explain why a “right” had been compromised, when it was just the kind hand of humans saying, “you’re our property, but we’ll leave the wild property alone.”  Sort of.  For now.

Mrs. Biology-I-am-a-nurse-and-I-really-love-nature, does this sound right to you?  When you taught your children not to pull the dog’s hair – as I’m sure you did – wasn’t it because it wasn’t right to hurt the dog?  Meaning, that dog had a right not to be hurt.  That dog had a right, under the Sun, not to be kicked, beaten, or abused.  Or even have his hair pulled.

Now, there’s not a law there, nor, perhaps, need there be one, as long as our ethics are sufficient to prevent, say, animal abuse.  So it’s clear that I’m not talking about the law so much.  We humans are on a growth curve getting laws in line with our current knowledge, our current awareness.  Always have been.  And so here, our laws are, once again but not surprising, behind the times in relation to science and the ethics that grows from increased knowledge.

But you know this.  You’ve undoubtedly seen in your lifetime and in history books that laws are usually pulling up the rear in ethics and social evolution.  That sometimes our ethics need some corralling by the law.  The end of slavery among  humans.  The Civil Rights movement.  Women getting the vote.  Our ethics were there….almost.  Among some.  Some others needed a legal nudge.

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again.  Dolphin Captivity: you’re either for it, or agin’ it; there’s really no in between.  A dolphin circus is absolutely no ethical excuse for dolphin captivity.  And a dolphin in an aquarium is certainly not a dolphin sighting.

But in case I come off as harsh (which would probably be accurate today), let me ratchet it back and send you to resources that are more measured than I:

 

The stages of animal rights activism

Atlanta activists stand in front of the Japanese Embassy to protest dolphin and whale hunting

Save Japan Dolphins Day 2011, Atlanta, Georgia

A few mindless quips by a harmless fellow has brought something to my attention.  Apparently, the saying, “If you’re not activist, you’re an inactivist” doesn’t go quite far enough to describe some who don’t stand alongside me as I hold my “Free the Dolphins” signs at The Georgia Aquarium.  It reminded me that there are people who actually advocate against the notion that animals have rights.  Zounds.  People that, as far as I know, don’t even benefit financially from that position.  And it got me to thinking about stages of activism in this human existence.

Here’s how I think the world stacks up with regard to animal rights activism, at least in the part of the world that doesn’t benefit financially from the exploitation of animals.  The people who do, I’ll save for another day.  I will say, however, that just because one benefits financially from a practice, that does not preclude him or her from seeing things without that $$ lens and making a different choice.  My examples are this awesome guy, named Virgil Butler, who used to work in a Tyson chicken slaughterhouse and one of my favorite human beings, Ray Anderson, for whom the light of sustainability flicked on while he was earning enough money to, shall we say, not want to see that particular light switched on.  And then became an activist for sustainability.

 

milk machine PETA Atlanta GARP Georgia Animal Rights and Protections

GARP and PETA assemble a cast of cows in Atlanta to say, "I am not a milk machine."

The Activist Category A:  In this category, the street can be, uh, the street, or it can be virtual (social media, letter-writing, phone-calling, blog writing, etc).  Activism is activism.  And the crème de la crème of activists are the ones who (get to) participate on the physical front lines rather than from their terminals.  Cat A Activists know this.  The front line and the virtual  Cat A’s have a beautiful friendship.

The Activist Category B:  In this category, I put those who, while they believe that dolphin captivity is wrong, just don’t see themselves as sign-carriers or letter-writers or costume-wearers (you gotta try this one!).  This amalgamation of folks seems to share the recognition that animals have rights, that dolphin captivity can’t possibly be good for the animal, and, therefore, the inquiry stops as it did for Mark Twain when he considered vivisection, and they conclude that they want no part of dolphin shows.

I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t…The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.                                                                        -Mark Twain

The Category B Activist – the “B” stands for Belief – will not do certain things.  This “not doing” generally comes in fits and starts – most Cat A Activists have gone through Cat B – as new informational tidbit after new video surfaces, and they actually consider the math of the range of a wild dolphin (tens and up to a hundred miles a day, depending on the population) and compare that to a life in captivity, whether wild-caught or bred for captivity.  Cat B’s don’t go to SeaWorld or the Georgia Aquarium or Dolphin Quest Resorts, or even the local putt-putt when they realize that the “attraction” there is the Live Alligators as much as the great golfing, even if it means driving a few blocks to the next putt-putt course to show her golfing prowess.

The only free dolphin at the Georgia Aquarium

The only free dolphin at the Georgia Aquarium

The Believers in Cat B, by the way, end up pledging not to go to the dolphin show or swim-with program, which puts them precariously on the ledge of falling into Cat A, just so you know.  It might not be dolphin activism; it might be dogs-off-chains, or ending cock-fighting, or the horrific farm-factory practices here in these United States and elsewhere, but at least some email-writing, petition-signing or maybe even costume-wearing is not far behind.

The Fearful Haters:  Let me explain that downright ugly name, one my momma wouldn’t want me putting in writing.  Maybe when she learns that I almost called this category The Pig Fuckers, she’ll be impressed with my decorum.  Who are the FHs and how did they get to feeling so darned superior over animals?  But even “darned superior” isn’t quite on the mark to capture their disdain for animal suffering.  These appear to be people who have had an animal trauma.  Maybe their dog jumped on them when they were five, and having been thus terrorized by man’s-best-friend, they’ve never felt comfortable in the presence of any animal afterward.  Or their parents took their dog away but told him, or her, that the dog was mean and had to be sent away.  Or the parents truly liked the dog best.  And now they find solace in the subordination of nonhuman animals, these creatures that jumped on him, or her.

Okay, so I don’t believe that.  There’s got to be something else behind all animal hating or malicious indifference.  And just because I clearly don’t understand the mentality, however small, of those who don’t see that compassion restricted to its own group – whether species, race, ethnicity or religion – is not compassion at all, doesn’t mean that it isn’t understandable.  A real live psychologist would undoubtedly find other categories between the Fuck Holes (oops, I forgot what FH stood for), I mean, Fearful Haters, and the activists.  But I’m not a psychologist.  I’m just a human being, with a compassion for creatures other than humans, who recognizes that we have encroached on their territory, extracted them from it for our own purposes – first only circuses, now circuses, education and warfare.

I also see a trend; with regular updating, the U.S. and/or its states have moved in the right direction in recognizing that animal welfare should be protected and that industries who benefit from exploiting them may not be whom you want to define the standards.  So I have hope that we will continue until we get our laws to spring logically from our science.

But who, I ask you, could hate a dolphin enough to want to rip it from the ocean, or worse, breed it in captivity and to live its life in one or several small tanks or ponds, to be gawked at or worse, ridden like a bucking bronco?  Don’t get me started on that one.

Striped dolphins free Georgia Aquarium Seaworld

Striped dolphins as they were intended, free

Thank you, Hong Kong Airlines!! No more dolphin cargo!

At the risk of jumping the gun, I understand from my dolphin contacts at Save Misty the Dolphin that Hong Kong Airlines has agreed to stop shipment of dolphins.  And will never again ship these magnificent animals, who deserve our respect, not our disdain, and certainly not our ownership.

So, thank you, Hong Kong Airlines, for having gone through lots of conversations and emails, Facebook and blog posts and Twitter Tweets – and emerged a hero, a leader in this global economy at no small cost.  The shipment of the dolphins came at a ticket price of six figures, from what I understand.  When a company demonstrates that it values life over dollars, and that dollars gained by yesterday’s ethics and morals is not worth that cost.  Well.  It gives me faith.  That people will do the right thing if they know what that is.

And thank you, Save Misty the Dolphin, for being there.  For coordinating with Sea Shepherd, Sea Shepherd Hong Kong, and Save Japan Dolphins to create a petition and a groundswell to reach out to Hong Kong Airlines to tell them how this shipment was tainted with blood.

I don’t have all the facts now.  I’m too excited today.  I can’t even look for any more links.  I think I’ve gotten all the big ones I need in here.  If I left someone out, just know that this little blog ain’t what counts.  It’s what you did that matters.  For more of those pesky facts.

The last day of the Taiji hunt, and Hong Kong Airlines agrees not to ship dolphins.

This is a very good day.

For More Information:

Hong Kong Airlines Says No More Flying Dolphins

Hong Kong Airlines Grounds Plan to Ship Kidnapped Dolphins

No more flying dolphins on Hong Kong Airlines

Sea Shepherd Shows Hong Kong Airlines the Direct Action Tactic

 

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.