Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Dolphin Outlook for the week!

MasterCard Says No to Animals in Captivity. One day. That’s how long it took MasterCard officials to end their promotion of a swim-with-dolphins program after PETA let them know just how inhumane these events are. They immediately removed it from their website—and that’s not all. They swiftly vowed never to support captive animal displays again.
Happy Dolphins in Ocean at Sunset
Happy Dolphins in Ocean at Sunset ©

MasterCard had been offering cardholders a dolphin-swim experience as part of its “Priceless Cities” program. PETA contacted company officials and let them know that dolphins in captivity often develop ulcers, exhibit neurotic behavior, and die prematurely because of the stress and deprivation of confinement. And many parks use dolphins who are captured during the annual Japanese dolphin slaughter.

We also reminded MasterCard that public opinion is strongly aligned against marine mammal captivity. Consumers have become more aware than ever of the suffering that wild animals endure when confined.

The company made the immediate decision to join dozens of other businesses, including HSBC and, in ending its endorsement of swim-with-dolphins experiences. And by refusing to endorse any captive animal displays, MasterCard is making a bold statement to other businesses: Customers understand that animals suffer in captivity, and they don’t want their dollars going to support it. PETA is sending MasterCard dolphin-shaped vegan chocolates as a thank-you for the swift, compassionate response.

Disney World: Retire Your Dolphins.
Many families grew up watching Disney’s magic on the screen and going to Disney theme parks. The company has delighted, entertained, and sparked our imagination for decades, and has also kept up with increasing entertainment demands. One of the ways it has managed to grow is by providing visitors to one of its parks with a dolphin exhibit. Popularity for this exhibit has been fueled by movies like Finding Nemo, and while this educational experience feeds into the wonder of Disney, it is at the expense of the dolphins’ well-being.  

At Disney World in Orlando, visitors to the dolphin exhibit are able to spend three hours learning and swimming with these remarkable creatures. Recently, organizational and public outcry on keeping cetaceans, like orcas and dolphins, in captivity shows it is no longer appropriate to keep dolphins confined and forced to entertain or interact with the public. Through scientific discovery we know that dolphins and other cetaceans are incredibly intelligent, are far-ranging, and are highly social.
The National Aquarium just announced they are going to retire their dolphins. It’s time Disney does the same. Disney should give their dolphins a chance to live in a more natural world better suited to their needs. Like Nemo and Dory, Disney’s dolphins belong in the ocean.

This petition will be delivered to: The Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Robert A. Chapek, President, Disney World Resort, George Kalogridis

Trade Sanctions Sought Against Mexico to Save Vanishing Porpoises
VaquitaVaquitas -- small porpoises that live only in the Gulf of California -- are the world's most endangered marine mammals, with fewer than 60 left on Earth. To stop vaquitas from vanishing completely, on Tuesday the Center for Biological Diversity urged the Obama administration to take a serious step: impose trade sanctions on Mexico to halt its illegal trade in totoaba, an endangered fish. Nets for the country's totoaba fishery are the biggest threats to vaquitas' survival.

This latest Center action follows a series of steps we've taken, both in the United States and in Mexico, to save both vaquitas and totoaba from extinction. No measures taken by Mexico so far have stopped either the trade in the endangered fish or the decline of the tiny porpoise.

"The facts are simple -- Mexico's failure to stop the ongoing totoaba trade violates its treaty obligations and is killing off the vaquita," said Sarah Uhlemann, our international program director. "The totoaba and vaquita have waited too long for effective action. It's time to ban seafood imports until Mexico stops its destructive totoaba trade." Read more in our press release.

10 Signs Whales and Dolphins Do NOT Belong in Tanks. Can you imagine being born into prison? You spend all your days behind bars with other miserable jail mates. Sometimes they become aggressive towards you due to their own frustrations of being so tightly confined. Each day, you have the opportunity to leave your cell, but if you do, you have to work under the strict pressure of your prison guards.

As you work, you are watched by hundreds of spectators. You are provided food as a reward for positive behavior, but if you behave against the guards’ wishes, you could possibly suffer the consequences of missing a meal. Your survival depends on care given by your prison guards. You don’t speak the same language as these guards, so you can’t tell them you don’t belong there.

What did you do to deserve such a life? Oh, nothing. You were born without freedom because you provide public entertainment. And you must like it because millions of dollars are spent on your “world-class” standards of care, you are given psychoactive drugs, and the thought of you ever being liberated is absolutely absurd…

Sound familiar? If so, you’re probably thinking of the lives of captive dolphins and whales. Though parks such as the famous SeaWorld try to convince the public that their cetaceans are content with their “spacious aquariums, restaurant-quality fish, exercise, quality veterinary care, and enrichment,” ultimately, profit is priority. Don’t believe this? Here are some signs cetaceans were born to be wild.

1. Collapsed Dorsal Fins
Why does the orca doing the silly trick have a floppy fin? That certainly doesn’t appear to be natural. If you’ve ever seen videos or images of majestic wild orcas, you’ll notice their dorsal fins are vertically stable. According to a member of SeaWorld’s education department, orcas have collapsed dorsal fins due to genetics, gravity, and injury from play … not captivity.

Hmm … Does that make you wonder why the majority of captive killer whales have these collapsed dorsal fins, while only one percent of wild orcas have been observed with this condition?
2. Aggression Amongst Tank “Pod” Members
Can you blame these amazingly intelligent and emotional beings for being frustrated with their confinement? In captivity, cetaceans have nowhere to escape conflict and thus, suffer from each other’s stress. Imagine being locked in a room with a spouse when you’re having an argument … rough.

Many dolphins, such as the orca in the image below, have injuries caused by tank mates. This rarely occurs in their wild environment. Although orcas are natural carnivores and eat other animals in their wild environment to survive, these animals only become “killer” whales in captivity.
3. Abnormal Repetitive Behaviors
We can all get a little crazy when we’re bored from time to time. But can you imagine being bored and stressed every day of your life?! With dolphins and orcas having brains quite a bit larger than humans in terms of weight and volume, it’s no wonder captive cetaceans display zoochotic (psychotic) behaviors, similar to symptoms of prison neurosis. Some stereotypic behaviors include swimming in circles repetitively, establishing pecking orders, and lying motionless at the surface or on the aquarium floor for relatively long periods of time.
4. Broken Teeth Due to Extreme Boredom
When you live in a concrete bathtub, what else is there to do besides bite down on bars separating you from other cetaceans? Unfortunately, this neurotic behavior results in serious dental issues. Captive cetaceans’ teeth are often chipped, broken, or have to have the pulp drilled out of the center of their teeth (Ouch!).
5. Self-Mutilation
Dolphins have been known to slam themselves against the sides of their tanks concrete walls. Sadly, marine parks don’t offer emotional counseling services for their “much-loved” captive dolphins.
6. Vomiting
According to former SeaWorld killer whale trainer John Hargrove, “Nearly every single killer whale regurgitated their food after we ended our interaction.”

Cetacean researchers believe that captive environments could be resulting in reduction of these animals’ brain size. Through lack of mental stimulation, the areas of the brain responsible for communication can atrophy. Cetaceans are degraded to playing with their own vomit.
 Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 7
7. Suicide Attempts
From intentionally flinging themselves out of their tanks to swallowing inedible stones, many dolphins and orcas have decided a life in a tank is a life not worth living. There have been many records of captive cetacean suicide attempts. If this isn’t an absolutely determinate sign these animals don’t belong in confined spaces, what is?
8. Reliance on Medication
Aren’t pharmaceuticals used to treat patients for physical or mental ailments? Drugs are apparently also used to calm mentally distressed captive cetaceans. SeaWorld has admitted to medicating their orcas with psychoactive drugs (similar to valium). Of course, mental illness of these animals that caused them to swim in circles all day, play with their own vomit, or commit suicide couldn’t possibly be related to the fact they live in a tank…
9. Unusual Illnesses
Captive dolphins and orcas are kept in unusual environments, so is it a surprise they tend to suffer from unusual ailments? For example, unlike wild cetaceans, captive cetaceans spend a lot of time exposed out of water (remember, dolphins and whales often float motionlessly at the surface when they are bored).

Trainers at SeaWorld in Orlando have witnessed swarms of mosquitoes settle on the backs of killer whales. Kanduke, a large male orca passed away unexpectedly at SeaWorld as a result of a pathogen transmitted by mosquitoes. Dolphins in the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas have suffered from a contagious disease called the pox, caused by stress and poor general health according to the National Institute of Health.
10. Accelerated Deaths
Depression, aggression, poor dental health, self-mutilation, vomiting, suicide attempts, drugs, illnesses – don’t these all seem like signs ultimately leading to death? According to a research study conducted in 1995 by Robert Small and Douglas Demaster, the annual mortality rate for captive dolphins was two and a half times higher than that of wild cetaceans. Sadly, not much has changed since then for the benefit of captive cetaceans. While wild killer whales have been known to live as long as 80 to 90 years, only two female orcas in captivity have passed the age of 40, and no males have lived longer than 35.
What Can You Do to End this Cruelty?
Are you now convinced cetaceans do not belong in tanks? Not yet? Read about what cetaceans might say about their life in captivity…

Help free our friends with fins by:
  • Taking a Pledge to not purchase tickets from marine parks and sharing this message with family, friends, and colleagues.
  • Signing petitions for cetaceans’ freedom and the end of breeding programs.
  • Watching the documentary Blackfish (if you haven’t already) tolearn more and investigating SeaWorld’s “Truth Team.”
  • Spreading the word through social media (and sharing OGP posts).
Lead image source: Swimming Free

Urge Entertainers to Cancel their Performances at SeaWorld orcas at SeaWorld
orcas at SeaWorld
Performers Fighting Gravity, the 13th Army Band, Freelusion, and the Gazillion Bubble Show have signed up to perform at SeaWorld, and we need your help to explain why no one should accept a gig at the abusement park.

Cetaceans are extremely sensitive, intelligent, and complex animals. In the wild, orcas travel up to 100 miles per day and bottlenose dolphins travel up to 60 miles in close-knit groups. In some populations, offspring stay with their mothers for life. But at SeaWorld, marine mammals are forced to swim in endless circles inside tiny tanks, which, to them, are equivalent to the size of a bathtub. They are torn away from their families and incompatibly housed with other animals, which often results in injuries and stress. While wild orcas can live to be more than 100 years old, 38 orcas have died on SeaWorld's watch—and at the average age of only 13. Not one has reached the maximum lifespan of an orca in nature.

Numerous acts—including Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Barenaked Ladies, and 38 Special—have canceled performances in SeaWorld's concert series, and artists such as Joan Jett, Savage Garden, and Edgar Winter have publicly called on the park to stop using their music in orca shows because of the marine mammals' natural sensitivity to sound. Please urge Fighting Gravity, the 13th Army Band, Freelusion, and the Gazillion Bubble Show to join the tide of performers refusing to support marine mammal confinement—then follow up with them on social media!

Fighting Gravity: Twitter and Facebook
The 13th Army Band: Twitter and Facebook
Freelusion: Twitter and Facebook
The Gazillion Bubble Show: Facebook

Click here to sign overall petition