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Bermuda - Dolphin Quest


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Good! I hope I've made people feel badly about supporting cruelty to dolphins.. and I've already complained to the program. But they don't care-- they're just in it for the money!


And I will continue to post so that I can hopefully help to make people aware that by supporting this program they are contributing to animal cruelty! :mad:

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Good! I hope I've made people feel badly about supporting cruelty to dolphins.. and I've already complained to the program. But they don't care-- they're just in it for the money!


And I will continue to post so that I can hopefully help to make people aware that by supporting this program they are contributing to animal cruelty! :mad:



Well - you aren't making me feel bad - that is for sure! So go ahead and be annoying because then it turns people off instead of actually trying to understand what you are saying and decide if they would like to continue to bother with the dolphin quest in Bermuda. Post away!

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Go ahead and continue to try to make yourself feel OK about contributing to cruelty to animals. It's easier to put your head in the sand, isn't it? How about educating yourself?


This is a letter from Jean-Michel Cousteau, President of Ocean Futures Society. It was written specifically about the Cayman Island's plan to build a swim with the dolphin facility. Read it carefully, because it applies to all programs-- and more so to the Bermuda one because the pens, unlike the Cayman facility in question here, are so dreadfully small. But, you won't read it because you don't want to take responsibility for what you did.


I have bolded for you some particular points of interest.




I would like to add my voice to those of many Caymanians concerned about the possible introduction of a swim-with-dolphins facility in the Cayman Islands.

The project's supporters claim that it would be a financial gold mine, but in the long run, a captive dolphin facility would destroy the Cayman Islands' outstanding eco-tourism credentials, and is certain to rebound to the detriment of the local economy. Already several thousand tourists, from over 30 countries, have signed petitions expressing their opposition to the proposed park.


Why? Because swim-with-dolphin programs are simply a disaster in the making, both for the dolphins and for the people who visit them. The Cayman facility, operated by a group called Living Sea, reportedly plans to house its dolphins in "natural enclosures." This is an oxymoron. For a dolphin accustomed to roaming free up to 40 miles per day, any enclosure is unnatural, and thus the Living Sea facility is in effect little more than a concrete jail. The dolphins, reputedly transferred from captivity in Honduras, were taken violently from their family and home range, and held in pools or pens. In the Caymans, their situation will not improve; they will still be fed dead fish and coerced (by the promise of food the imposition of hunger) to perform tricks and interact, whether they want to or not, with humans.


To counter the global outcry over what amounts to forced labor of a sentient, social and intelligent animal, the swim-with-dolphins industry has added a few new wrinkles to the now familiar justification of its own self-serving goals. Cayman citizens should not be surprised if they hear some of these specious claims.

For one, swim-with-dolphins programs like Living Sea purport to be educational. In fact, they are anti-educational, because they foster the false impression that dolphins are gentle, "warm and fuzzy" creatures, when they are far more complex and interesting, and capable of a range of behaviors, including violence. They are predators with a dominance hierarchy. The false impression leads to ignorance, not enlightenment. This ignorance hurts both dolphins, who are captured and sentenced to life terms for crimes that don't exist, and humans, who can be injured physically, cheated financially and short-changed intellectually.

Some of these businesses also infer that buying time with a captive dolphin helps nurture a greater respect for these animals, even a desire to protect them. This logic has always escaped me, since the chief threat to bottlenose dolphins is the captive dolphin industry.

Some operators claim that swimming with dolphins is therapeutic. Children suffering from Down's Syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other conditions are frequent visitors to swim-with-dolphins facilities. While I understand the feelings of reverence and awe that contact with these magnificent creatures inspires, it is critical that people everywhere understand that there is no scientific evidence to prove that swimming with dolphins provides a medical benefit for humans. Other programs, using domesticated animals and plant environments, have similar results and do not involve the cruelty inherent in dolphin captivity.


Far from universally beneficial, swimming with dolphins can actually be bad for you. Broken bones, lacerations, internal injuries, shock--these are just a few of the wounds reported by paying customers.

The effects on dolphins are even worse. After surviving a traumatic capture-and many don't--dolphins are confined in a space that does not allow them to exercise even their most basic natural functions. They suffer from enforced monotony, confinement stress, poor diet, disease, muscular atrophy. So the life span of a captive marine mammal is not only considerably shorter than that of a wild one, but considerably less worth living.

Australian researchers have found that the problems do not disappear when the operation is moved to open pens or bays, such as that proposed by Living Sea. Even wild dolphins habituated to human contact spend up to seven hours interacting with people, and literally forget to feed. In addition, tour boats routinely scare away the schools of fish that dolphin pods herd into feeding position.


Finally, some facilities claim they are engaged in research. But the fact is that captive dolphin husbandry is the only "science" they are capable of producing. And any "findings" that might emerge are more suited to profiles in understanding the human psyche than to peer-reviewed cetacean research.


Although swim-with-dolphins operators are adept at exploiting grey areas in the law, time is not on their side. Australia is considering legislation that would limit the hours and locations of interaction. In the Caribbean, the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol of the Cartagena Convention protects marine mammals, and in Mexico, a new law prohibits the capture of dolphins for display. It would be a shame if the Cayman Islands were to fall from what is the wave of the future in ecotourism into the host of environmental profiteers.


Over the past several years, I was privileged to be a consultant for the Ministry for Tourism. During that time, I took pride in helping to promote locales, like Stingray City and Tarpon Alley, that offered tourists the opportunity to experience the Cayman environment on its own terms.


Swim-with-dolphins operations are incompatible with this philosophy, and are an insult to those of us who view humanity as stewards of nature. They are bad for dolphins, bad for tourists, and in the end, bad for business.


I strongly urge the responsible authorities to preserve the Cayman Islands' positive environmental image, and reject the proposed facility.




Jean-Michel Cousteau



Ocean Futures Society

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I respect how you feel about this issue but if is how YOU feel. I do NOT think it is right for you to keep on trying to get everyone to agree with you. I do not need to convince myself that it is "OK" because I do not have a problem with it. How do you feel about Zoos?? They must be a bad thing too?? I still plan to do the dolphin encounter without an ounce of guilt because I am a horrible person. Good luck with your crusade.

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Have a great time with the dolphins. We did. We bought the photos and we enjoy seeing them everyday, it was a great way to spend and remember our time in Bermuda. Hope you have as much fun as we did with this excursion!:p

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Hey Dolfinmusic - Have a great time if you end up going to Dolphin Quest.


For anyone that's interested, I received this from the latest Dolphin Quest newsletter. I believe this shows some of the great efforts that Dolphin Quest is involved in.



DEEPEST DOLPHIN DIVE EVER REPORTED AT CONFERENCE1pxl.gif1pxl.gifThe deepest recorded dive by a bottlenose dolphin – reaching depths greater than 900 meters (2700 feet) – was reported by the Dolphin Quest supported Bermuda Dolphin Tracking Project to the marine mammal scientific community last month in San Diego, CA.


This project used satellite telemetry to follow the movements and dive behavior of six bottlenose dolphins in summer 2003 and late spring 2005 in Bermuda’s waters.


The deep dolphin dives, as well as dive durations lasting between 11 – 12 minutes, were reported by Leigh Klatsky, Principle Investigator and Research and Program Associate for Dolphin Quest, at the 16th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.


Two other Dolphin Quest supported research projects presented findings at the conference. Dr. Mark Sklansky amazed scientists with never-before-seen video clips of a dolphin’s beating four-chamber heart. Dr. Sklansky of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, obtained the pioneering cardiac ultrasound images at Dolphin Quest Oahu.


Dr. Shawn Kramer presented her findings on the swimming efficiency of dolphin calves riding alongside their mothers in a position called the “echelon position”. Dr. Kramer examined three mother-dolphin calf pairs located at Dolphin Quest Hawaii and discovered that although a 0 – 1 month old calves can keep up with its mother in echelon position, but an independently swimming calf probably could not keep up with the group. These findings may help scientists examining the dangers of dolphin chases associated with some tuna fisheries.

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How do I feel about zoos? They should be banned.


By the way, I wrote to report the cruelty of Dolphin Quest to WSPA, and here is the letter I received back:


Thank you for your email and your concern for the welfare of animals worldwide. It is always encouraging to hear from people like you who recognize the unnatural conditions and suffering imposed upon wild animals by tourist attractions such as Dolphin Quest. Unfortunately, there are many such programs throughout the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the world.


The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) shares your concerns and has been working on a campaign called "Free the Dolphins" aimed to stop the spread of programs such as these. WSPA's main focus in this campaign is to stem the capture of wild dolphins and to stop the opening of new facilities, and our efforts have centered in the Caribbean and Asia, where these programs are proliferating.


WSPA is also a member of the Marine Mammal Protection Coalition, which comments to the government of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (the regulations which oversee the use of marine mammals in the US). WSPA is currently trying to improve oversight of facilities like Dolphin Quest and call attention to the latest research on the welfare problems associated with such facilities via the MMPC. Please visit WSPA's website http://www.wspa-usa.org/pages/265_free_the_dolphins.cfm to learn more about our campaign to "Free the Dolphins" and to find out about how you can take action to help them.


I hope this information is helpful, and please feel free to email me again with any further questions or concerns,



Jennifer Brown

Supporter Liaison


34 Deloss Street

Framingham, MA 01702

Tel # 1800-883-9772

Fax # 508-620-0786

Direct # 508-879-8350, ext.#31

Email: jbrown@wspausa.org

Web Site: http://www.wspa-usa.org

P.S. Love Animals? Click on the link below to sign up for WSPA's free email newsletter for the latest on international animal welfare issues.

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  • 1 month later...

I opened this thread because I was interested in the doing the dolphin swim, but had no idea I was about to support something so horrible. While some may find you annoying, I really appreciate the info you are providing. You changed my mind and hopefully the minds of some others as well. Thanks & keep up the good work!

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I opened this thread because I was interested in the doing the dolphin swim, but had no idea I was about to support something so horrible. While some may find you annoying, I really appreciate the info you are providing. You changed my mind and hopefully the minds of some others as well. Thanks & keep up the good work!



I have no problem with someone who expresses how they feel. I do have a problem when they have to constantly post and make people feel like they are wrong. Don't make it an issue just because someone else does NOT agree!!! Everyone is entitled to their .02!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear Surfgirl,

I had heard all about the controversy over Dolphin programs before. Like many things in this world I do believe it is up to each individual to decide how they feel about any ethical question and to act accordingly. Different people do have different views about what is morally right and wrong. None of us get to make those choices for others. I appreciate your efforts to try and educate- just understand that not everyone will agree with you.

There is one thing in your posts that bothers me. You mention going to snorkel at the dockyard park and to bring food for the fish. I believe very strongly that feeding wild animals- even fun little tropical fish is wrong. It makes the fish dependent on handouts from people and upsets their natural order. It also over time tends to ruin the environment of the reef by attracting far too many fish to one area. Please try and enjoy the natural beauty of the sealife with the least impact as possible on the environment. Please don't feed or touch the fish. Don't kick touch or step on the coral. Believe it or not years ago Tobbacco Bay was beautiful- but no longer mainly through ignorance. It is very very tempting to put out flakes and have the fish gather round- but it is really not very good for them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Surfgirl, you mentioned the HSUS info page long ago but I never saw a link. Here it is for anyone who might be curious: Swim with the Dolphins Programs


That said, I found the constant repetition of insults in this thread a bit over the top. I really think one's point can be made without describing individuals as evil bad people. It is much more effective to present information concisely *** respectfully than to post long insulting posts it is unlikely anyone will read because of the length (although bolding does help). There are much better ways to get information out.


*** just in case anybody is wondering about me - yes, I have been a vegetarian since I was 12 years old. Yes, I have reduced my consumption of leather products. Yes, I have donated to animal rights organizations (though not PETA). I also know a fair bit about dolphins, having authored an educational children's book about them with the cooperation of the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

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No - if you take a look at my post above you will see where the word was meant to go. I used it twice but both times it got erased!


Let's try it again... this and that, him and her, when and where


edit Okay, wow, that was crazy. it works now. I wonder if I go edit my previous post if it will work. There is no way I typed those three stars myself...twice.


edit 2 Whoops, I'm outside the period when I can edit my post. So my little oddity will live forever. Bizarre!

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Sometimes one must continue to state information until it sinks in. I'm so sorry that it bothers you. But maybe it is your conscience that is bothering you?


I will continue to inform about how cruel the dolphin swim is. I have presented plenty of evidence proving that the program hurts the dolphins by shortening their lives, stressing them, keeping them in a constant state of hunger (for "training purposes"), as well as the cruel pens that not only don't give them enough room to exercise properly, but makes their sonar bounce off the walls.


Anyone who pays for the swim is supporting cruelty to animals. You will have to live with yourself for that.

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I'm afraid you're barking up the wrong tree; perhaps you didn't read my message carefully.


What I was taking exception to was your tone, not the content of your information - had you read my message more closely you would have noticed that I didn't attack your evidence or beliefs. You have been snarky in almost all of your posts to this thread, and there's no need for it. Stating the facts without attacking anyone is much more effective than implying that other posters are bad people.


As for my conscience, you apparently missed the last part of my post. I assure you my conscience is quite clear in this regard, and attempting to insult me by attacking my conscience is completely unwarranted.


In other words: Nice try.

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Wow - after reading all 5 pages of these posts - all I can say is - Wow.


I have NEVER left a negative post here, and anyone who cares to can check, so this is a first.


Surfgirl - you need to get a life. What do you wait for someone to post on this thread and attack them??? Perhaps a better place for you to protest is actually in Bermuda - maybe at the entrance to this place - you know carry signs, lay down in front of customers, yell until your red face gets redder....etc etc. Maybe then you will make a difference in the life of a dolphin. Use your dollars to protect them from their cells, put your money where your mouth (fingers-as in typing) is, and DO SOMETHING. Posting over and over and over and over.......dear it is gettign you NOWHERE. The members here are just that. Your crusade is pointless here - take it where it will matter. I don't know if you will get the scenario - but you are not preaching to the choir here.


The members that are interested in this type of activity will do it regardless of your 'soapbox' preaching - if that is what they want to do. But attacking other members...and I am trying very hard not to do that to you....is making you sound foolish. This is not a 'save the dolphins' website. I acknowledge your opinion, you have shared it (WAY too many times) but....are you listening (reading) ???? - EVERYONE has one.


No, I have never participated in any of these ventures. Am I curious, yes. Would I 'swim' with the dolphins, not sure, I am a bit fearful of them, but I do believe they are a beautiful, graceful creature. On the other hand, I believe also that if the dolphins were 'truly' being abused and mistreated and were miserable (after reading how highly intelligent they are) don't you think the dolphins would become so aggressive that the companies would have to shut these operations down? Think about that one.


I hope that you can take this post to heart, and understand that others have opinions that differ from yours......we will not all convert to your way of thinking.

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My3kids, I HAVE a life.. and a very nice one, thank-you-very-much...WITH a clear conscience. I don't contribute to the abuse of animals. Also, you might take this advice.. never ASSume. I have contributed a lot of money to animal welfare groups-- including a very prominant dolphin group. So, before you ASSume and post lectures, perhaps you might want to get your fact straight.


And, I will continue to warn unsuspecting cruisers about this awful place. Like it or not.


Have a nice day!

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