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Animal Defenders International : Animals in entertainment : Whales and dolphins do not belong in captivity

Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Whales and dolphins do not belong in captivity

Posted: 28 May 2013. Updated: 10 June 2019

Captivity causes whales and dolphins psychological suffering, as well as physical distress. Destined to spend their lives in tiny pools in a barren, artificial environment, forced to perform mindless tricks for the public and separated from their normal family groups and social structure. Some animals are still snatched from the wild.

Made to perform

Training wild animals involves a vicious cycle of punishment and reward as well as unnatural one-to-one domination. Living in captivity cruelly deprives highly intelligent and emotional whales and dolphins of their normal social interactions and the ability to live in large social groups, roaming the oceans at will.

Animal suffering creates human risk

Whales and dolphins are wild animals, with wild instincts, and they can be dangerous. In captivity, attacks are a clear indicator that, if people get into the water with these wild animals, injury and even death can result. In recent years, people have tragically died after entering the water with killer whales (Orcas), which had been trained to perform tricks.

Denied a full and healthy life

In the wild, whales and dolphins live much fuller, longer lives than in captivity. A 2001 report found that “At least 134 orcas have been taken into captivity from the wild since 1961. One hundred and six (79%) are now dead. (An additional male escaped after 2.25 years in captivity. His fate is unknown.)” The same report explains how “Most captives die before they reach their early 20s, yet in the wild, females may live as long as 80 years or more”

Rehabilitation efforts

With scientific knowledge, patience and care, it is possible to rehabilitate whales and dolphins to enable them to be released back into the wild or at least something more appropriate than the barren enclosures provided by marine parks. ADI has rescued many wild animals from deplorable conditions and while they cannot be released into the wild, their lives are far happier than when held captive and forced to perform tricks for human entertainment. They are free to roam with their own kind enjoying a life free from unwanted human attention.

Marine parks are no place for animals and in no way increase our understanding of whales and dolphins in the wild.

How you can help

  • Avoid parks which display whales and dolphins and offer “swim with” ventures and encourage friends and family to do the same
  • Contact your members of Congress and ask them to support legislation to end of the use of whales and dolphins in entertainment. Find their details here.

© Animal Defenders International 2019