Saturday, June 2, 2018

Six Flags Mexico Shut Down, Dolphinaris Arizona, Mississippi Aquarium, Dolphin Outlook

In Defense of Animals
Six Flags Mexico's Dolphin Tanks Forced to Shut Down. 

It's official: dolphin and whale captivity has been banned in Mexico City, as the public becomes increasingly aware of how dolphins suffer when they are treated like objects and forced to perform degrading tricks. The countdown is now on for parks to find alternative homes for their captives.

Last year, we reported that a bill that outlawed cetacean performances, training, and use in research or therapy was passed on August 1, 2017 thanks to the work of local nonprofits including Comarino Mexico. Now, as of May 5, facilities within Mexico City have exactly 6 months to find new homes for their captives or they will face fines.

The facility within Mexico City’s jurisdiction is the notorious Six Flags Mexico, which placed number 6 on our Ten Worst Tanks list – a ranking that was cited by Environment Commission President Xavier López Adame as he gave justification for the aforementioned cetacean performance bill. The two bottlenose dolphins who are currently forced to live there must be moved out of the facility. The question remains as to where they will go. It is possible that they will simply be relocated to a different facility that will continue to use and abuse them. The best option would be to send them to a seaside sanctuary, where they can live out the remainder of their lives in relative peace and privacy without being forced to perform. There would also be the possibility of their release into the wild, if feasible.

This is yet another example of how the captivity industry is being rejected by people around the world. Understanding of how harmful and exploitative captive dolphin entertainment is for both dolphins and humans continues to grow at a rapid pace. Be a part of the movement. Click here for ways that you can get involved.
Alia the Dolphin Died Young in Captivity - Save Her 6 Friends! Alia was a 10-year-old bottlenose dolphin living a sad life in captivity at Dolphinaris Arizona when she tragically died. The dolphinarium has not released the cause of death but we know that captivity is horrible for these intelligent, fun animals. Six other dolphins are still there and at risk.

Sign the petition to urge Dolphinaris Arizona to do the right thing and release the remaining six dolphins to a sanctuary where they can live out their days in a happy, natural habitat. 

Bottlenose dolphins normally live at least 40 years so it's not a stretch to imagine some kind of death due to living in captivity. In fact, Alia is the second dolphin to die there in the last year - Bodie was only 7 years old when he died last year. Dolphins are not meant to live as human entertainment. 

One huge fear for having dolphins in Arizona is the risk of them contracting a deadly fungal disease called Valley Fever, especially because the stress of living in captivity weakens their immune systems. 

According to Care2 writer Alicia Graef, "Dolphins aren't cute little playthings, performers or ambassadors; they're highly intelligent, social, far-ranging predators. Sadly they are continuously treated like commodities by the captivity industry, who are taken from the wild, bred in captivity and shipped around with little regard to their wellbeing. Ultimately, they spend their entire lives being deprived of everything that would enable them to truly thrive."

Sign the petition to help free Alia and Bodie's six dolphin friends!
Mississippi Aquarium Will Teach Kids How to Dominate Dolphins

There is nothing positive about a captive dolphin facility. Aquariums and aquarium profiteers continue to convince people otherwise — trying to keep animal captivity in business.

The city of Gulfport, Mississippi is currently building a captive dolphin facility at the new Mississippi Aquarium which is slated to open in late 2019. At the groundbreaking ceremony on May 11, 2018, we heard a tired old statement that the captive animal industry has clung to for years. 

Despite pro-captivity claims about "positive interactions" made by Gulfport Redevelopment Commission chair Carole Lynn Meadows, there is no data to show that interactions with animals in zoos and aquariums have any benefit to animals in the wild.

Zoos and aquariums cling to anything they can to justify their continued animal exploitation. Formative experiences for children are indeed essential in shaping how they understand the world. While there can be little doubt that Gulfport has the best intentions for children in its community, there is nothing “positive” for dolphins confined in aquariums.

Western society dominates animals relentlessly and often ruthlessly. We have been taught to view animals as mere property, assuming they lack insight or awareness into their own lives. We assume they require husbandry or conservation at our hands in order to survive, and that they are incapable of noticing our constraining of their freedom.

In our dominator society, a “positive interaction” with nature – positive in the sense that it reflects and affirms what we’ve been taught – is indeed accurately represented at zoos and aquariums. These places keep animals in prison-like conditions; we are lead to believe that because captives continue to eat and reproduce (though they are often forced to do so), they must be satisfied, or unperturbed, with the conditions they endure.

In these environments, interactions between children and animals, such as dolphins, are often mediated by glass barriers, trainers who withhold food, and drugs that are given that keep them performing. These interactions reinforce exploitative and antiquated ideas about who animals really are, and how humans ought to regard them.

Ultimately, places like the Mississippi Aquarium offer the harmful kind of education that will teach children how to preserve the world: a preservation accomplished by capturing, confining, and utterly dominating animals while denying their ability to understand what is happening to them.

Should the Mississippi Aquarium decide not to construct new dolphin tanks, it would be sending the message that we are learning from our mistakes, that we are beginning to understand that animals deserve better from us. These are the first steps we can take on the long, yet desperately needed road to recovering from the culturally-constructed rift between humans and others in the United States. The rest will be up to future human generations. We owe it to them and the animals we exploit to set children on the right path to adulthood.

Help us fight for dolphins and other captive animals, and to stand up for real conservation in nature and sanctuaries.