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PurvaPatel
Dr.Haas
Writing39C
31May2015
Dolphins:IssuesonCaptivity
PricePaidforEntertainment
Inthearticle
FormerDolphinTrainerSpeaksOutontheHorrorsofCaptivity,
former
dolphintrainerGailWoonspeaksoutaboutherpreviousworkattheTheDolphinExperience,a
programinwhichindividualscaninteractwithdolphinsintheirnaturalhabitat.

Inthe1980sthe
dolphinswimcompanyUNEXSOorchestratedabrutalcaptureofdolphinsinMexico.Inthis
savagedolphinroundup,luckydolphinsweretossedbackwithbrokenlimbsandinternalinjuries
whilethelessfortunateweredrownedortakentocaptivity.Woonrecountsthatatleast60animals
werecaptured,hurtordrowned.Theanimalsthatwerethrownbackhadbrokenpectoralfinsor
weredead.ThesixdolphinsthatweretakentocaptivityattheDolphinExperienceinFreeport,
Bahamashadscartissueontheirpectoralfinsfromwoundsthatneverhealedproperly.

Thepublic
wastoldthatthedolphinsweretrainedusingoperantconditioning,negativebehaviorsare
ignoredandthepositivearerewarded.However,thatwasnotthecase.Woonwitnessedand
participatedinsmackingPVCpipesonthewaterandthrowingitemssuchasIgloocoolers,buckets,
andsometimeswentasfarasthrowingthemselvesintothewatertoscarethedolphinsintotiny
enclosures.ForthreedaysWoonwasforcedtothrowthedolphinstheirentiredietfortheday
outsidetheenclosuresotheanimalscouldseethefoodbutitwouldbeoutsideoftheirreach.At
nightthedolphinswereforcedtoinhabitanareawhererawsewagewasreleased.Thefilthywater
wherethedolphinswerehousedgavetouristrashes.Thedolphinsweretrainedtocleantheirown
pensthatwerecontaminatedwithsewageplantoverflow.Wooncommentsthatdolphinscannot

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bekepthappilyincaptivitysincetheyareknowntotravelupto40milesadayanddivetogreat
depthsandliveinfamilyunits.Tokeepadolphinincaptivityisaverytragicsolution.To
analyzetheeffectofcaptivityondolphins,thispaperwillincluderesearchdonebyscientistssuch
asneurologistsLoriMarinoandAntonioDamasioandbiologistJoanGonzalvo.Thispaperwill
beginwithareviewofresearchdoneondolphinsanalyzingtheircognitionandsocialstructures.
Thereviewofresearchinthispaperwillattempttoestablishtheissuesofcaptivityandpromptthe
question:Whenwillthecapturesandcaptivityofanimalsstop?Theprobableanswerbeingwhen
thepublicrefusestovisitparksandfacilitiesthatdisplaythesesocialcreatures.

AMindintheWater

Whatgivesdolphinstheabilitytohaveemotions?NeurologistsLoriMarinoandAntonio

Damasioprovideabiologicalexplanationtohow
emotionsmightbefeltindolphins:Dolphins
havecomplexbrainscapableofcomplex
cognitionabilities.
DisplayedinFigure1,the
brainsofdolphinsandwhalesaresignificantly
largerthanhumans.
Intheessay
CetaceansHave
ComplexBrainsforComplexCognition
,Lori
Marinotheorizesthelargesizeofdolphinbrainsisaprimaryresponsetosocialforceswhichare
requiredforeffectivefunctioningwithinacomplexsocietycharacterizedbycommunicationand
collaborations(0966).Furthermore,Damasiosuggeststhatvariousbrainstructuressuchasthe
thalamusandthecingulatecortexgivestheindividualsasenseofself.Marinoaddsthathighlevel
cognitivefunctionssuchasattention,judgement,intuitionandsocialawarenessareconsistent
withtheexpansionofcingulatecorticeswhichisresponsibleforhelpingaspectsofsocial
cognition.Damasiosuggestshavingasenseofselfandknowingtowhomthisishappening

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makesitpossibleforanimalstohavepersonalexperiences(Bekoff864).Animalssenseofself
givesthemtheabilitytohaveexperiencesandfeelings.Nonhumananimalsareableto
experiencegrief,joy,lossandmanymoreemotions.Animalscapacitytoexperienceattachment
andlosscanbeconsideredtobethecauseofanimalgrief.(Berkoff2)Inthedolphinssocial
group,individualsbenefitfromrecognitionofthemselvesandothersandfromflexibilityin
adaptingtonewbehaviorsduetosocialcontextshifts.(0966
)

AttachmentsintheCommunity
Manydolphinspeciesliveinsocialgroups.In
SocialBehaviorinBottlenoseDolphins
,a
researchernamedShaneWatsonstudiedthesocializationbehaviorofdolphins.Watson
describedthedolphinslivingincomplexsocialsocietiesthatresemblesafissionfusionsociety,
meaningthattheindividualsinthegrouparealwayschanging.Beingapartofagroupisthe
dolphinsmeansofsurvival.However,beingapartofagroupcanalsoleadtotheformationof
attachmentswithfamilymembersorgroupmembers.Watsonreportsthatdolphinsdemonstrate
atypeofgriefwhenfamilyorpodmembersdie.Thisoftenleadstothedolphindistancing
themselvesandstopeating.Henotesthatthisbehaviorlastsforafewdaysuntiltheyresume
theirtypicalactivities.Indiscussionofnonhumananimalgrief,attachmentscanleadto
separationanxiety.Manyanimalsdemonstrategriefwhenaclosefriendorlovedoneisabsent
ordies.(Berkoff2)Therearemanyreportsofanimalbehaviorthatcanconstituteasmourning.
Forexample,therehavebeenoccurrencesofdolphinsexperiencinggriefandloss.Scientists
observedthatdolphinsdonotlikeleavingtheirdeadcompanionsbehind.
In2007,JoanGonzalvo,abiologistobservedagrieflikebehavioroccurringoffthecoast
ofGreece.
DemonstratedinFigure2,amotherwasobservedtryingtoreviveherchildby

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liftingthebodytosurfaceinarepeatedcycle.
ScientistsattheTethysResearchInstitute
witnessedthebottlenose
dolphindisplaying
desperatebehaviorover
thecourseoftwodays
(King96).Themother
vocalizedandtouchedher
childwithherfinsand
rostrum..Othermembers
ofthegroupoccasionally
approachedtoobservethe
scene,buttheydidnot
interfere.Gonzalvodescribedthesceneasmaternalgriefandsuggestedthatthemothermay
havebe
enmourningthesuddendeathofhercalfandseemedunabletoacceptthedeath.The
dolphinmotherexhibitedasimilarbehaviortothoseofmonkeyandapemothersbycarryingthe
corpseofthedeadinfant.AyearlaterGonzalvoobservedanotherpodofdolphinsswimmingwith
a2montholddolphinthatwashavingdifficultyswimming.Gonzalvoobservedthegroup
swimmingerraticallyandtheadultstryingtohelpthedyinganimalstayafloat.Basedonthe
previousobservations,Gonzalvoexpectedthemothertostaywiththecorpseandmourn.
However,themotherallowedthecorpsetosinkandlefttheareawiththerestofthepod.Gonzalvo
hypothesizedthatwhenanimalissick,therestofthepodgavetheindividualcompanyandsupport
andleftaftertheirjobwasdone.Inthecase,thepodhadassumedthatdeathwouldeventually
comeandwerepreparedduetothedolphinsdecreaseinspeed.However,inthefirstscenariothe

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motherstayedwithherdeadbabybecauseshewasnotpreparedforthedeathsinceitwas
unexpected.Bothcasessuggestthatdolphinsnotonlyexperiencegriefbutcanalsocomprehend
theirownmortality.

GriefinCaptivity
EthologistJohnArchernotesthatanimalsdisplaybehaviorindicatinggrieforseparation
distressandareknowntoshowsignsofstrongdistresstobothseparationanddeathofoffspring,
parentormate.Archersuggeststhatweshouldexpectanimalsexperiencingsomeformofgrief
sincemostanimalsaresocialcreatures,theyformpurposefulrelationships,whichmeanstheyhave
toexperiencetheendofthem(35).Ifdolphinsareindividualswithcognitiveandemotional
capacitieshowcanwekeepthemlockedupinconcretepensandbrutallykillthem?Signsofgrief
arepresentinwildandcaptiveanimalswholongforalostcompanion.Astudyconductedin2010
bytheWorldWildlifeFundfoundthatraredolphinswerebeinginjuredbyboatstrikesandaround
200,000cetaceansarekilledorinjuredannuallybyfishinggear,pollutionandhabitatloss.Mark
Simmonds,theInternationalDirectorofSciencefortheWhaleandDolphinConservationSociety,
saysitiscleardeathinhuntsandfishingnetsmayoftenbeprolongedandpainfulandalso
significantlyaffectmoremembersofthepopulationthatjusttheanimalskilled.Orcasoneofthe
largestdolphinsincaptivityareknowntomournwhenasomeoneclosetothemhaspassedaway
orbeenrelocated.Forinstance,Orkid,acaptivefemaleorcadisplayedbehaviorssuchas
screamingandcryingoutwhenSumar,amaleOrcathatshewascloselybondedtopassedaway.
TheU.S.MarineFisheriesServicefoundthat7.4%ofcaptivedolphinsdieinayearversus3.9%in
thewild.Also,themajorityofthedolphinspeciesthatareincaptivityformclosebonds,so
breakingthemuptomovethemfromparktoparksimulatesdeath.Thisoftenleadstothe
i
ndividualtomournforthelossofaclosefriend.Weneedtoreevaluatehowwetreatthese

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beingswiththeemergenceofevidenceofnonhumananimalsbeingsociallyawareandfeeling
griefatthelossofamember.

Ethicsforourtreatmentofanimals
In2014,morethan2,100dolphinswerereportedtobeheldcaptivein363zoosand
dolphinariumsaroundtheworld.Iftheseanimalsarecapableofhighercognitiveabilitiesand
experiencegriefisitmorallywrongtoholddolphinscaptiveforentertainmentpurposes?In
thesecaptivefacilities,thedolphinsaredeprivedoftheirfreedomandchoiceinanalien
environmentandaretrainedtoperformunnaturalbehavior.In1975PeterSingeranAustralian
Philosopherarguedthathumansshouldnotuseanimalsforunjustpurposes.Hebasedhis
thoughtsonutilitarianism,thetheorythatamoralactionistheonethatmaximizesutility.That
is,iftheactionisgood,itwillultimatelyprovidethegreatestbenefittothegreatestnumberof
individuals.Singersuggeststhatweshouldnotonlyconsidertheinterestsofhumans,butalso
interestsofanimals(Singer7).ToSinger,researchonanimalsismorallyacceptableonlyifthe
benefittohumansandanimalsoutweighstheharm.Ratherthanassumingthatananimalin
captivitybenefitsfromitssituationbasedonaccesstoshelter,beingfedregularlyandno
predators,wemustconsidertheanimal'spreferencesastheywereourown.In
Equalityfor
Animals?
Singeralsostatesthatifabeingsuffers,thereisnomoraljustificationforrefusingto
takethatsufferingtotakethatsufferingintoconsiderationWhatmakesahumanssufferingand
painmoreimportantthanthanthesufferingandpainofdolphins?PeterSingerandfellow
animalrightsadvocateRichardD.Ryderarguethatinsteadoffocusingonintelligence,we
shouldfocusonanimalsabilitytosuffer.So,isitethicaltoholddolphinscaptiveanddeprive
themoftheirrighttobefree.Thoughthefacilitiesclaimtobedoinggoodforthespecies,

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dolphinsaresubjecttoanunnaturalenvironmentandresearchthatarenotpleasurable.Ifthese
animalsareabletofeelpainandsuffer,whatrightdohumanshavetokeepanimalsincaptivity?
ProblemswithCaptivity
Shouldsomeofthemostsocialandintelligentanimalsontheplanetbekeptincaptivity
byhumanbeings?Thisisaquestionoftenaskedbybothscientistandanimalwelfareadvocates
whenpertainingtoanimalswithintelligenceandcomplexsocialorganizationsuchasgreatapes
anddolphins.
AnimalsfromtheDelphinidaefamilysuchasbottlenosedolphins(Tursiops
truncatus)andorcas(Orcinusorca)werefirstcapturedandexhibitedinthe1960sduetotheir
powerandbeauty(Gorman).Dolphinshavelongbeenheldincaptivityforvariouspurposes,
mostnotablyentertainmentandresearch.Currentlytherearehundredsofdolphinsincaptivity
worldwideandthousandsthathavediedincaptivity.TheWhaleandDolphinConservation
SocietystatesthatintheUnitedStatesaloneover2,300dolphinswerecapturedfordisplay
purposesbetween1972and1994andatleast120whalesanddolphinshavedied.

Todaymore
than2,100dolphinsandwhalesarebeingheldincaptivityin63countriesaroundtheword
(Bottlenosedolphin).
Inrecentdecades,theanimalliberationmovementhashelpedchange
thewaypeoplethinkaboutanimalsandaboutthewaythatanimalsshouldbetreated.These
effortshaveledtoacloserexaminationofthetreatmentofanimalsincaptivityandtoquestions
abouttheethicsofholdingwildanimalscaptive.Suchexaminationshaveledinturntorecent
publicandscientificinterestinthepossibilityofreleasingcaptiveanimalsbackintothewild.
ToniFrohoffdirectorofTerraMarresearch,anonprofitorganizationdedicatedtoprotecting
marinewildlife
,arguesthatifdolphinsareselfawarepeople,thendeservethesamebasicrights.

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Frohoffstatesthemoresentientweseedolphinstobe,thegreaterourethicalobligationsshould
beandthatWecantstudythemlikegoldfishorlabrats.
TheresNoPlaceLikeHome
NeurologistLoriMarinoexplainsthatYoucantreplicatethenaturalsettingforthese
animals.ofwildanimalsincaptivity.Forexample,dolphintanksarechemicallytreatedanda
tinyfractionofthehundredsquarekilometerrangestheseanimalsareusedto.Thesmall,
sterileenvironmentresultsintheseanimals
swimmingincirclesandjumpingoutoftheir
pools(527).BiologistProfessorG.Pilleri
commentsthatItisnothingshortoftortureto
taketheseanimalswhoareaccustomedto
infinitebeautyoftheopenseas,
coveringvast
distancesatspeedssometimesreaching60kman
hourandthenimprisonthemintinyconcreteor
metalpools
(CetaceanInspiration).
Asseenin
Figure3,
captivefacilitiesmayuseshowpools
thatare36feetdeepand180feetlongintheirstadiums
buttheyalsousesmallerbackpools
wheretheanimalsspendthemajorityoftheirtimethatsometimesholdup10Orcaswhogroup
upto32feetlong.

Thesmallerpoolsthatarearound15feetdeepand150feetlongwhichisless
thanonetenthousandthofonepercent(0.0001%)thesizeofthesmallesthomerangeofwild
orcas.Sincethefacilitiesareafractionoftheanimal'snaturalhome,Orcasincaptivityareout
ofshape.Inthewild,Orcashomesare125squarekilometresandtheydiveasdeepas60

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2
meters
.Orcasalsoswimupto100milesadaywhichwouldbeequivalentto1208lapsinthe

pool.Orcasareconstantlyinmotionintheirnaturalenvironmentandspendlessthan20%of
theirtimeatthewater'ssurfacewhereasincaptivitytheyspendmanyhoursfloatingatsurface.
Aspreviouslymentioned,chemicalsareroutinelyaddedtothewaterwheredolphinsare
heldcaptive,thishasledtomanybeingaffectedbychemicaloverdosesintheirpools.For
example,in2001,USDepartmentofAgricultureInspectorandveterinarianSylviaTaylorfound
potentiallyalarmingpHlevels,ameasureofwateracidityattheClearwaterAquarium.The
dolphinswereshowingsymptomsofpoorwaterqualityorchemicaloverdosesuchasskin
sloughing(sheddingofdeadtissue)andsquinting.Chemicaloverdosecanalsoresultin
prematuredeathsfromgastroenteritis,fungalinfectionsandotherailments.Inthe1995research
study
SurvivalofFiveSpeciesofCaptiveMarineMammals,
DouglasDeMaster,Directorofthe
NationalMarineMammalLaboratoryaddressedthelowannualsurvivalrateofdolphinsin
captivity,notingthattheannualmortalityratewasmorethantwoandahalftimeshigherin
captivitythaninthewild.Similarly,
theHumaneSocietys2009reportfoundthatbetween
5.6%7.4%ofdolphinsdieeachyearincaptivityversus3.9%thatdieinthewild.Thenumbers
forOrcasareevenmoredramatic:6.2%to7%mortalityratesversus2.3%inthewild.
Manydolphinsareknowntoliveinmatriarchalsocialgroups.ResearcherShaneWatson
commentshowbeingpartofagroupleadstotheformationofattachment.However,incaptivity
dolphinsarepluckedfromtheirfamiliesandforcedtoliveinanartificialgroupingsthatdonot
bearanyresemblancetotheirnaturalorder.Theartificialgroupingsthatareforceduponthese
animalsoftengenerateaggressionbetweentheunrelatedanimals.Iftheydonotgetalong,the
individualcannotescapeaggressiveencountersandhasnochoiceregardinghisorher

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companions.Inthewildtheanimalcanfleeawayfromtheaggressorandcanactivelyavoid
animalswhomheorsheisincompatiblewith.
BenefitsofCaptivity
Althoughthereareproblemswithkeepingdolphinscaptive,somebelievethatcaptivityis
beneficialtosociety.StanKuczajapsychologistwhostudiesdolphinbehaviorincaptivityand
thewildrebuttalstheargumentforendingcaptivitybyagreeingthatdolphinsaresmartbut
claimsthatthereisnowaytovalidlymeasureintelligenceinspecies.Furthermore,Louis
Hermanthegodfatherofresearchondolphincognitionsaysthatthedolphinmortalityinwild
versusthoseincaptivityarequestionablebecausemortalityishorrificinthewildsince
dolphinsareexposedtootherdangerssuchaspredators,foodshortages,andbycatch(Are
Dolphins527).Thecaptivedolphinsaresafefromthreatsthatwilddolphinsareexposedtoand
areprovidedveterinarycare.DorianHouser,directorofbiologicalresearchatNationalMarine
MammalFoundation,pointsoutthatinformationobtainedfromcaptivedolphinshavehelped
scientiststounderstandthemindsofdolphins.Keepingthemcaptivealsoprovidesvaluable
scientificknowledgeaboutthedolphinswhichwouldincreaseawarenessoftheanimalsandtheir
environments.Housernotesthatresearchconductedoncaptiveanimalsisheavilyregulatedby
governmentagenciessuchastheAllianceofMarineMammalParksandAquariumswhichis
supervisedbyMarileeMenard.MenardrespondstotheissuemysayingTheseanimalsare
stressfree,theyrereproducingfabulously.Whatotherstandardsdoyouwant?(Are
Dolphins528).
WhatShouldWeDO?

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Consideringhowmuchdolphinsareaffectedbyconfinement,whatcansocietydoto
preventdolphincaptivity?PoliticianssuchasRichardBloomandscientistssuchasNaomiRose
haveproposedactionstostopcaptivity.InMarch2014AssemblymemberRichardBloom
proposedthebillAB2140knownastheCaliforniaCaptiveOrcaWelfareandSafetyActto
endperformancebasedentertainmentforall10orcasinCalifornia.Theimplementationofthis
billwouldendcaptivebreedingprogramsandwouldpreventtheimportingandexportingofthe
orcasthemselves.Althoughthebillhasbeendelayedforayear,Bloomstatesthatsupporters
havecometotheconclusionfromdecadesofcaptiveandfieldstudiesthatcetaceanspossessa
levelofintelligence,awareness,andpsychologicalsensitivitythatmakesitunacceptableto
continuetokeepthemincaptivityifnotnecessaryfortheirwelfare,survival,orconservation
(SeaWorldSucceeds).Whilethebillseekstoendwhatsomemayconsiderglorifiedcircus
acts,thebillwouldstillpermittheexistingorcastobeonpublicdisplay.Bloomcontinuesthat
thebilldoesnotmandatethereleaseofSeaWorldsorcasbackintothewildsincetheydonot
possesstheskillsnecessaryforsurvival.Ratherthanendingresearch,thebillrequirestheorcas
toberetiredtoseapenswhichwillallowtheorcastobehavemorenaturallythusbemoreuseful
asresearchsubjects.SeaWorldopposesthebillclaimingitwouldcrippletheparksprogramof
rescuinginjuredanimalsinthewild.However,marinemammalscientistNaomiRose
acknowledgesthevalueofthehavingaccesstocaptiveorcasforscientificresearch.Researchon
theorcasthatareretiredtoseapenswouldbemoreusefultounderstandwildorcassince
researchdoneoncaptiveorcashaslimitedutilitygiventheabnormalbehaviorandphysiology.
ThisbilltophaseoutorcacaptivityinCaliforniawouldbethebestsolutionforcaptivityatthe
moment.Thisbillwouldgivecaptiveorcasamorenaturalenvironmentandwouldoffthe

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animalsrestfromperformingandconstantexposuretostrangers.Rosecommentsthatthis
constantexposuretostrangersisanentirelyunnaturalsituationforaspecieswhosesocial
groupingsarebasedonfamilytiesandstabilitytheideaofstrangersdonotexistinorca
society(Rose).
PowerofSocialMedia
Sincethebillforbanningthecaptivityoforcashasnotyetpassed,orcasarestillharmed
inaquariumssuchasSeaWorld.Toencouragebanningcaptivity,individualscantakeactionand
usesocialmediatoinformthepublicoftheharmfuleffectsofcaptivity.Socialmediaisoneof
thebestwaystoadvocateasolutiontodaybecauseitallowsorganizations,thegovernment,and
citizenstoconnectwithoneanotheronimportantissues.ConsultantonsocialeffectsofInternet
technologiesClayShirkycommentsthatthenetworkgrowsverylargeduetothefactthat
[people]arenolongerdisconnectedfromeachother,thefactthatformerconsumersarenot
producers,thefactthattheaudiencecantalkdirectlytooneanotherbecausethereisalotmore
amateursthanprofessionals(Shirkey).Socialmediacreatesanenvironmentforconveningand
supportinggroupstoworktowardsacommongoalandshareproblemsandsolutions.
OrganizationssuchasPeta,BornFree,andTheHumanSocietyoftheUnitedStatesutilize
socialmediatopromotecampaignsandpetitionstostopthecaptivityofdolphins.These
organizationsareabletoconnectwithpeopleallaroundtheworldandgainsupportbyinforming
theirsupportersoftheharmfuleffectsofcaptivity.Creatingasocialmediacampaignfor
bycatchdemonstratedhowusingmediassuchasTwitterandFacebookmakeiteasiertoreach
outtomanypeoplequickly.Withthecampaignwewereabletogetsupportersandshare

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petitionsandfactsaboutbycatchatnocost.Socialmediaalsoprovidedamediumtoshare
informationwithabiggroupofpeoplethatisaccessibleandquick.

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