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The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity

The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity

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Published by Beatriz Tur
Marine mammals in captivity
Marine mammals in captivity

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Beatriz Tur on May 03, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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In a 2004 report to the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission

(MMC), researchers from the University of California highlighted

the potential health risks to which humans are exposed through

contact with marine mammals. In an internationally distributed

survey of people who come into contact with marine mammals

(primarily those who work with these animals), 23 percent of

respondents reported contracting a skin rash or similar ailment.217

As with marine-mammal-inflicted injuries, workers in the public

display industry are in a high-risk group for infection.218

Respiratory diseases were also reported in nearly a fifth of marine

mammal workers, including diseases such as tuberculosis.219

Clearly, exposure to marine mammals can involve a health risk

to people working with the animals, but it can also threaten the

health of the public.220

Diseases contracted from marine mammals

are difficult to treat and diagnose, as they may be overlooked

or even ignored by physicians who are not aware of the risks—or

range—of potential infectious diseases.221

Facilities that allow direct

human contact with marine mammals, such as dolphinaria with

petting pools or swim sessions, are exposing their customers to

possible infection and injury.222

The reverse is also true—such facil-

ities are exposing their animals to possible human diseases or

injury as the result of inappropriate behavior by the public.

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