Tag Archives: Save Japan’s Dolphins

Whether the Georgia Aquarium dolphin shows are educational

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog on this topic, and if you had the great good fortune to have seen the videos in the blog, you would have seen first hand via video shot by a customer of the Georgia Aquarium that the Aquarium’s dolphin extravaganza was, shall we say, a little lean on educational value.

Seeing unvarnished home movies likely provides something a tad closer to the reality of the dolphin show than a highly polished piece that the Georgia Aquarium would put together as an advertisement.  Make sense?  It does to me, too.

Those home movies are no longer available, but since I want to continue to provide information and facts surrounding the Georgia Aquarium and dolphin captivity, it appears that I’ll have to rely at least in part on the G.A.’s own video.  But before I show you the video, let me set the stage a bit.  It may look like I’m straying off topic, but just hang with me.  I’ll bring it all home.  I promise.

In your mind’s eye, picture the strawberry pie on the menu at Shoney’s.  The big, center-posted picture on the cover.  With radiating smaller pics of fried chicken, Salisbury steak (both with a gravylike schmear), and maybe even shrimp, interspersed with various starchy concoctions, some with peas thrown in for color.

But the pie: the uber bright and shiny red of, not really the strawberries so much (yes, I think there were actual strawberries in there) as the goo that surrounds the strawberries.  The goo that jiggles, but not the same way that Jello jiggles.  Translucent, but again, not the same way that Jello is.  You know it.  More like  snot, really.  But darn red.  A mighty fine red, but one that you know isn’t real.  And this, this picture of the pie that is on the cover of the menu, that is now in your mind’s eye, with its perfect dollop of whipped cream, well, not real whipped cream, really, but some light and fluffy mixture of milk flakes, talc, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oil . . .  Crap.  I really didn’t mean to ruin that (open air quotes) whipped cream (close air quotes) for you.  Oh, who am I fooling?  You’re probably on your way to that single-use plastic container of Cool Whip right now.  (Are these people going to sue me for mentioning them in the same piece as the Georgia Aquarium?  Oh, I am just mean!)  Anyway.  Picture the pie.  The bright red goo.  The perfect dollop.

Flash forward to your having ordered it.  Now watch the pie as it approaches on the tray brought by the hard-working and underpaid (oops, slid into another social issue) waitress.  The reality is not quite as lovely as the advertisement.  The advertisement promised something that it didn’t deliver.

And by comparison, with that picture of the pie in your mind, that fake, fake, fake, fake, fake red of the pie that still somehow appeals to the inner 6-year-old-at-Shoneys-for-the-first-time, consider that the Georgia Aquarium is tinkering with that same appeal. The strawberry pie lie.  The reality isn’t what’s on the cover.  But what’s on the cover is what the restaurant needs you to believe so that you’ll order it.  So what does the Georgia Aquarium need you to believe?

I guess, first and foremost, it wants you to believe that the dolphins are happy.  Happy in captivity.  Happy that they are not in the ocean swimming freely with their close-knit community of family.  I guess there’s a lot they would like you to believe.  That dolphins live longer lives in captivity.  But there is also stuff they don’t want you to know.  They don’t want you know that the average life span of a dolphin in captivity is five years, when dolphins in the wild live far longer.  Or that the aquariums often give captive dolphins daily doses of medicines to control ulcers and intestinal and respiratory issues.  So you can probably expect a Georgia Aquarium online commercial to show you what it wants you to believe.  I expect you’ll see something that looks like happiness.  Jumping.  Splashing.

But what about the education part?  Surely they’ll highlight that aspect, too.  It is supposed to be central to the purpose of the dolphin show, right?  Education.  Right?

And here we are at the finish line, getting ready to watch one of the Georgia Aquarium’s own videos – one that it has placed on Youtube with all the agreements and consents that one gives when posting to Youtube – to see how it invites customers to come be educated about happy dolphins.

Soooooooo.  What did you learn about dolphins?  What do you expect to learn based on the Georgia Aquarium’s own enticement?  What education do the eleven dolphins who are held captive at the Georgia Aquarium provide to justify their continued captivity, held away from the open ocean for which they were designed?

To actually learn about dolphins and whales in captivity, watch A Fall From Freedom.

And don’t go to the dolphin show.

In the meantime, if you need entertaining, just take a gander at what we actually allow to entice us into believing that the food is good.  Or the dolphins happy.

This burger was made from happy cows, too!

Whether dolphin shows are educational – a matter of definition?

Congressman Young’s (R-AK) point, during a hearing regarding marine mammal captivity, that whether the dolphin shows are educational or not educational is a matter of definition, might be a valid one.  What specific kind of information any particular dolphin exhibit imparts can certainly be varied: one exhibit might focus on dolphin life span and intelligence while another addresses family structure and habitat range, while still another describes what we understand and do not understand about dolphin communication.

But saying it’s a matter of definition is a convenient cop-out, and not altogether true.  Because one should look, that is, Congressman Young should look, at the actual content of shows that justify keeping marine mammals in captivity, before cavalierly speaking of something being a matter of definition.  And so should we all.  So, here, for your convenience, Congressman Young (and the minute numbers of you who are actually reading this), is an example:

And more:

I’m just wondering what you learned about dolphins in those videos, shot at a real dolphin show.  That they can jump?  I’m thinking, just thinking, that you already knew that.

I’m also thinking that you didn’t need to see a dolphin in captivity to know that it can jump, or that it can jump in perfect timing with other dolphins, or that it can jump in perfect timing with other dolphins 15 feet into the air.  Or that it can be trained to tail walk.  Or splash.  Or make noises on command.

Here’s what I’m guessing you didn’t learn at the dolphin show: that the high-pitched noise, flashing lights, constant noise (encouraging the audience to be loud?!), explosion simulations – where to stop with this list – not to mention being deprived of legitimate natural behaviors  – like catching it own prey, swimming in the natural rhythm of the ocean and its seasons, swimming fast, swimming far, and swimming deep – puts a constant stress on the dolphin that nature does not.  And I know that you know what stress does to the health of a living being.

So, in the end, none, I repeat, none of the show is about education.  Its sole imperative is to entertain.  To entertain you so that you will come back, and you will tell your friends to go to the entertaining dolphin show.  And your friends will tell their friends.

Here’s what I’m hoping.  That you’ll recognize the moral bankruptcy of the dolphin show.  And you won’t go.  And you’ll tell your friends not to go.  And your friends will tell their friends.

And just one short post-script: be on your guard against being lulled, fooled or warmed by current dolphin and whale movies into supporting captivity by going to a dolphin show.  Here’s a dolphin and whale movie that you can watch on your computer that will allow the warm-and-fuzzies you get from those Hollywood movies not to send you straight to the Georgia Aquarium or SeaWorld to watch dolphins that were not saved, but enslaved.

Let the dolphins be free; watch a documentary, go to the beach, hug your dog.

Dedicated to SeaWorld and the Georgia Aquarium

So, yes, with a measure of fun, I am questioning the factual basis of some of the assertions about dolphin and orca captivity from some dolphin-owning institutions. Assertions about the life spans in captivity being longer than ones in the wild (not true).  Or that the dolphins thrive in captivity (a little harder to quantify, but read on, not true).

Now, before you go all, “Oh, that Martha.  She’s so extreme.  Dolphins are fine in captivity, and there is a valid educational part of the dolphin shows” on me, just take a gander at the educational content of the dolphin extravaganza at the Georgia Aquarium shot by a visitor:

I’m figuring that you’ll be like most of us, including some members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that expressed annoyance, shall we say, upon their exit from just having seen the very same dolphin show.  I believe some of them observed that there was something like, oh, zero educational content in the show.  And I repeat, these were zoo and aquarium people who make their living based upon the acceptability of animal captivity, not we “fringe anti-caps.”

And to the point of whether dolphins like captivity, take a look at the celebration of life in wild dolphins:

compared with live streaming video of captive dolphins:

http://www.seewinter.com/winter/media/webcam-3

You’ll have to copy and paste that one in your url; it won’t link live.  It may be a bit of a bother, but believe me, you want to do this to see the whole story.  And if Winter isn’t visible on this web cam, check one of the other ones; Web Cam #1 is where she and her dolphin companion strut their captive stuff for the paying public.

Which side are you on?

To take action for dolphin freedom, just take one step. Call, write, blog, tweet, donate.  I’m betting you’ll see how great it is to stand for these extraordinary beings, and will take one more step after that.

Welcome.

Dang. I forgot to get a Manscaper.

I love Bill Maher.  If you do, too, you’re in for another treat.

Sooooo, not only did I forget to get a manscaper, Bill’s piece reminded me that I don’t have a:

  • Tivo programmer
  • Liposuctionist
  • Gardener’s Personal Trainer
  • A dog whisperer
  • A look-alike
  • A private farmer
  • A hand-sanitizer dispenser lady
  • Someone to mistake me for Sharon Stone
  • A shark tank tender (you can hear the crowd not like the shark tank joke – yea!!!!!!!)

Luckily the marijuana valet, I have covered.  Just kidding.  Criminy!!

But on a more serious note: if I were a “job creator,” here are a few of the jobs that I would fund with every cent, and every breath, on every day for the rest of what I would hope to be a long and awe-filled life:

  • Farm sanctuary animal tender.
  • Captive animal rehabilitator and returner-to-the-wild (land and ocean animals).
  • Builder and tender of worldwide seapens for those animals who cannot live in the wild.
  • Inventor of all-quiet ocean vessel technology.
  • Transporter of animals from the now-closed factory farms.
  • Solar power inventor and developer.
  • Ocean plastic picker-upper.
  • General environmental cleaner-upper (on land and water).
  • Finder of how to recycle everything – yes, everything; no waste.
  • Ticket-writer for trash throwing.  Oh, and also leaving food in the grocery store in aisles other than where you picked it up, with the justification, “they pay people to put it back.”
  • Native animal and plant specialist and habitat restorer.
  • Organic farming technique (meaning, the way our grandparents’ generation farmed) teacher.
  • Shutter downer of the big pharma/AMA/insurance and Wall Street/banking/investing blocs (now, those are locks on some doors I can believe in, Ms. Bachmann).
  • Vegan nutrition counselor.
  • Exercise instructor for every senior citizen center and hospital everywhere, ensuring the availability of outside instruction, water time and focus on core strengthening.
  • Network chiropractic and gentle touch provider for all animals, not just humans.
  • Teacher of worldwide population control and sustainable living.
  • And, yes, I would love to have a personal assistant and vegan chef.  I really couldn’t leave those off, because anybody who knows me knows that I would love that.

I like my list.  I like the world that my list lives in.  In my mind, I live in that world.  And while I may not be the “job creator” that makes all that happen, I am part of the recipe for that reality.  We all are.  And I know that there are job creators out there, working right this minute on creating all of this.

Well, except maybe the last one.  I might just have to get organized and cook for myself.

A few of the people who were working on September 1, 2011 - Save Japan Dolphins Day

Playmobil – Dolphin toys teach that captivity is A-OK

Accurate: Taken out of their natural habitat

Accurate: Taken out of their natural habitat

Here is the true educational impact of dolphin captivity: Kids love the dolphin shows. They want to be trainers or aquarium vets so that they, too, can capture dolphins and show how much they love them. In the meantime, Playmobil makes its few beans by capitalizing, in between multiple aquarium visits, on the children’s love of this amazing creature.

Now, there are those who went to the shows as children and became dolphin advocates, but I’m not focusing on that itsy-bitsy minority right now.  I’m focusing on the 99% of people (based on my personal observation of how many people go to the dolphin show, versus how many of us are standing on the sidewalks or in The Coves around the world trying to protect them) who continue to think that dolphins in captivity is natural.

The Georgia Aquarium and its ilk, including the garishly commercial SeaWorld chain and/or minion claim that dolphin captivity programs have an educational or conservation purpose (convenient, because otherwise it would be illegal in the United States to keep marine mammals in captivity).  The actual text of the Marine Mammal Protection Act notes, however, that the aquarium industry, itself, gets to set those standards.

Thanks to Playmobil, those standards are clear for anyone, including the child that a parent unwittingly exposes to a most cruel and inhumane captivity industry, to see.  The standards (I’ve paraphrased, if you will), plus a few

Accurate: Taken out of their natural habitat

Can you spot what’s wrong with this picture?

informal ones, are :

  1. Display the animals regularly (if you only do it once in a while the customers might stop coming).
  2. Make people think these dolphin tricks are “natural behaviors” even though our own training manual is about training “new” behaviors for the show.  Don’t worry about the logic failure there.  Just keep saying “behavior” over and over and work in “free” and “freedom” a few times, too, and keep smiling all the while at the paying customers.
  3. Train the dolphins to ensure that they do the trick, I mean behavior, during the shows for paying customers (it’s embarrassing when the tricks don’t play out).  Tell the customers that even though dolphins don’t  routinely jump through hula hoops in the ocean, they would if they could.
  4. Tell the paying guests that the dolphins are protected from mean predators that live in the wild, and don’t tell them that dolphins are at the top of the marine food chain and don’t really have predators.
  5. Keep the chlorinated water clean.
  6. Keep a vet handy for those annoying upper respiratory issues that seem to occur more frequently in the dolphins that we own than in the ones we haven’t caught yet.
  7. Whatever happens, keep on smiling.

The facts that the Georgia Aquarium does not reveal to their paying guests, during their educational extravaganza are:

  1. Dolphins in the wild swim to depths of 850 feet.
  2. The deepest tank we have is somewhere around 30 feet; the shallowest is 12 feet.
  3. Dolphins in the wild swim up to 70 miles per hour.
  4. Dolphins in the wild swim up to somewhere around 100 miles per day.  They may do this just in a local area or they may travel for miles and back.
  5. The dolphins in our tanks can swim a few body lengths before having to turn around to do it again, over and over and over for the rest of their lives.
  6. Dolphins in captivity have an average shorter life span than in the wild, despite the position taken by the captivity industry.
  7. Many dolphin babies in captivity die in the first few days.
  8. Dolphin babies in the wild stay with their mothers and their extended families.
  9. Dolphin babies are separated from their mothers for the captivity industry (whether from wild capture/slaughter or from a dolphin breeder).
  10. Dolphins are trained with food deprivation.  That’s right.  These highly intelligent creatures know that food comes with doing the trick.

Don’t buy your children this toy.  Watch a couple of documentaries about the truth of dolphin captivity.

And don’t go to the dolphin show.

To let Playmobil know that they are teaching our children to disrespect the very animals that they love, and either knowingly or unwittingly contributing to dolphin captivity and slaughter, please contact them:

PLAYMOBIL® USA, INC.
P.O. Box 877
Dayton, NJ 08810
Voice: (609) 395-5566
Fax: (609) 395-3015
Customer Service e-mail address: service@playmobilusa.com
Non-Customer Service e-mail address: webmaster@playmobilusa.com

Thanks to Amanda Faughnan for the foundation of this piece.

 

Dolphin Dance

This isn’t a new video, but the Women for Whales posted it on Facebook today.  And I’m so glad that I happened to see it.

Here’s what I saw.  I saw life at its purest, most self-expressed.  I saw freedom.  I saw play.  I saw love and family and glee.

This is what dolphins do when they are in control of their own lives.   They dance.  They hold hands.  They flap their fins in some kind of gleeful signal.  All in the wide open ocean.

Shame on the Georgia Aquarium, SeaWorld, Miami Seaquarium, Marineland, Resorts World Sentosa, and all dolphinaria and aquaria for capturing and enslaving a creature who deserves to be free and in control of his or her own life.

If something stirred in you, like a sense of your own freedom, and how precious it is to be free and fully self-expressed, please contact Save Japan Dolphins, the Oceanic Preservation Society, Free the Atlanta 11, Save Misty the Dolphin on Facebook or Saddest Dolphins.com (I’m sure there are many others, too) to find out how to make a difference in the lives of dolphins today, and forever.

Become part of a growing community that celebrates and demands self-determination and freedom for these extraordinary creatures.

September 7, 2011

September 7, the first were killed, including the mother and baby.  The mother and baby that we saw just before they were slaughtered.  Thanks to the kind heart and brave spirit of Leilani Munter for Save Japan Dolphins, we can see the souls to whom we said goodbye.

I have to believe that these souls will be among the last to die.  That they will be specially honored among cetaceans as those who captured the world’s heart and awoke its will, and saved all who came after from the same fate.

No matter what happens every day, every day I will call.

I will call to beg.  I will call to bargain.  I will call to thank on the days that the hunt is called off.  And for the day when it is called off forever, I now bless their souls.

No AT&T? No problem. No dolphin extravaganza either.

dolphinsdm_800x446

Where dolphins are home

Just a short status update on my transition from a supporter of dolphin captivity, AT&T.  In case you have missed it, AT&T is a proud supporter of dolphin captivity.  And I am not.

So, the relationship was doomed.  No matter how great the service was, or wasn’t, where there is an alternative, I knew one choice was right for me: leave AT&T and its Dolphin Extravaganza.  As Georgia Aquarium says, the most amazing show this side of Broadway.  Are you kidding?  Those dolphins, 10 of the 11 born into captivity, one wild caught, have a life that should look like the one above, but they live in small concrete tanks.  And will until they die, either prematurely, because dolphins do not live as long in captivity.  Or unmercifully, at an old age.  I am just not sure how the people who make a living from dolphin captivity sleep at night.  But one thing I’ll guarantee ya: the pillow where they rest their head each night was purchased by dolphin captivity; every night, 365 1/4 days a year.

And it gets worse than captivity, if death is worse.  The jury in my head is still out on that one.  But I’m leaning toward captivity being the far crueler and more unusual.

So now, instead of an iPhone3 with AT&T, I have an iPhone4 and FaceTime (!!!!), with Verizon.

Fewer dropped calls.  Truth.

And no dolphin extravaganza on my conscience. Or my pillow.

Now, how about that 2X4 from Home Depot?  Yep.  I’ve switched to Lowe’s.

Life in harm’s way

Dolphins are in danger in Japan. Today the danger is caused by a combination of humans’ having captured them and put them in pens and a typhoon that is beating those dolphins against the pen and potentially tangling them in the netting and drowing them. In the oceans the dolphins have for millions of years protected themselves in the face of weather. But when humans remove from them not only their freedom, but any of their means of self-preservation, there is nothing that they can do to protect themselves.

The only hope for these dolphins is that the Japanese release them so that they can protect themselves as they know how.

Save Misty the Dolphin has compiled a list of Japanese officials whom you may contact to request that these dolphins be released during the typhoon. Time is critical.  This must happen now.

Please make the calls. Please make several calls. Please share with your friends and have call parties. See who can reach the most. Share stories. Write blogs.

Whatever you can do, please do.

Universal Sacredness of Life – Support the UDAR

Poster by Andy Beattie

Poster by Andy Beattie

Support the UDAR.  However you can. By voting. By considering.  By editing.  By signing the declaration.  By joining a local animal rights organization.  And a few international ones.  And maybe, if you’re lucky, it can be both for you.

But support it we must, in order to not die ourselves.

When even one species leaves the planet, the planet is changed, and so are we.  The Martha I am is, perhaps imperceptibly, changed by even one extinction. And so, because imperceptible with one, we think it will be so with two.  And three.  And three hundred.

At which extinction will the change be perceptible to the densest among us?  It already and certainly is among the most perceptive. I do not count myself among them.  I am aware only of the conceptual likelihood that this is so.

At which extinction do we acknowledge that we do not value the sacredness of life.  Where life will be a commodity to trade in for us all?  When my flesh is only so much protein on the market?

Now – you see, I don’t believe that that day will come. I believe that right now, we are waking up to the sacredness of life.  And that all life, if one’s own is to be truly and presently lived, is regarded with awe.  And respect.  And love.

Support the universal dignity of life; live in the awe of life; support the UDAR.

Namaste.

Poster by Andy Beattie

Poster by Andy Beattie

(For access to wonderful information about animal rights, thank you, Andy Beattie.)