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Bermuda - Dolphin Quest


Varitek33

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Wow, surf girl you really are a piece of work! First to answer your question, I don't have a dog, I do have a lovely tuxedo cat that my husband and I love, and NO we DO NOT beat him. Nor did I beat the dolphins or do anything to harm them, we followed all instructions from the handlers, who I am sure know way more about dolphins than you do, just a hunch there.

 

You have your opinion, which you are entitled to, but you can NOT accept that not everyone agrees with you. I have stated before if you do not agree with these programs then don't do them, it does not give you the right to bash anyone else that wants to do this on their vacation. We REALLY enjoyed the dolphin dip and we are planning on returning to Bermuda next summer, with two couples we are friends with and we ALL plan on swimming with the dolphins. You will never change my mind on this, and I am not trying to change your mind. But, I do not think attacking everyone that posts a positive response to this thread is right either, you do not know me and I really do not appreciate you insinuating that because I did a LEGAL, ship sponsored excursion on my vacation that I must then be a person that would beat a pet. You seem to make a lot of ASSumptions about others that you do not know. I guess if you saw a man on one of your cruises wearing a white tank top, you would ASSume that he beats his spouse??

 

I noticed when someone posted a few messages back on the ETHICS of feeding the fish at the snorkel park and if it is right or wrong you did not respond, why is that?? Because you like to do it, so it is ok to mess with the eco system then?? Seems you glossed right over that question that was posed to you.

 

I will state again.....Anyone that WANTS to do the dolphin excursion should look into it, it really is a unique way to spend a few hours on your vacation!:D

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Very good post pittfan.

I noticed when someone posted a few messages back on the ETHICS of feeding the fish at the snorkel park and if it is right or wrong you did not respond, why is that?? Because you like to do it, so it is ok to mess with the eco system then?? Seems you glossed right over that question that was posed to you.

I noticed my last comment to Surfgirl was also ignored. Perhaps she didn't like that either. It can be very threatening when someone points out logic to someone who is fanatical.

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From Swimming with Dolphins: Dream or Nightmare?

 

(published by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society)

http://www.wdcs.org/dan/publishing.nsf/allweb/B6216E894BF0D274802570B900510DB6

 

Impact on dolphins

 

Capture

Attempts to breed dolphins in captivity have largely proved unsuccessful and so dolphins are still captured from the wild to supply facilities offering swimming with dolphins. Methods used to capture dolphins can be shockingly cruel. Some dolphins may even be killed during the ordeal.

 

Confinement

Dolphins are among the most complex and highly intelligent of mammals, renowned and celebrated for their close family bonds, boundless energy and co-operative hunting techniques. Tragically, in captivity, they are forced to live in stark, cramped tanks or enclosures away from their natural environment and family groups. Many die very young, during capture, transport or in their tanks or enclosures.

 

No escape

In captivity, dolphins cannot escape from human swimmers when they do not want to interact with them. Some have been observed demonstrating signs of alarm when in close proximity to swimmers. United States Government scientists have argued that trainers are often unable to prevent swimmers causing distress to the dolphins, whether intentional or not.

 

Free to go?

Many facilities keep dolphins in sea pens on the coast, enclosing off an area of bay and even opening a gate to let them out. While this may appear to tourists to give them the chance of freedom, the owners know that these dolphins, trained to rely on staff for food, will return to the enclosure. One sea pen facility was forced to close its gate to prevent its dolphins from leaving the enclosure when they were found begging for food from fishermen.

 

Exposure and pollution

Recent hurricanes have had serious consequences for dolphins in sea pens. Some have been battered by falling debris, washed out to sea and even killed. Water quality can also be a problem. Sea pens close to shore may contain only very shallow water, the temperature of which may become too hot in the sun. Those close to towns and resorts may also contain high pollution levels, bringing the risk of illness and even death to the dolphins.

 

Impact on human swimmers

 

Injury and disease

Dolphins are wild animals and unpredictable, even when well trained. There have been many publicised reports of human injury incurred through swimming with dolphins, including bites, bruises, scratches, abrasions and broken bones.

 

Disease transmission is also a serious concern, since dolphins carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans.

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And.. besides boycotting these cruel amusememnt parks.. here is what you can do about it: (from HelpingAnimals.com)

 

http://www.helpinganimals.com/travel_suggestions.asp

 

Caribbean Cruelty

 

If you traveled throughout the Caribbean, you may have come across one of the many “swim-with-dolphins” programs. These profit-driven ventures are strongly promoted by tour operators. Countless studies conducted by biologists and naturalists make it clear that it is impossible to meet dolphins’ unique psychological and physiological needs in captivity. Cruise lines, in particular, provide a huge source of customers for these cruel operations. By writing letters to your cruise liner and magazines focusing on Caribbean travel, you can make it clear that many tourists do not support these cruel programs. Radisson Seven Seas Cruises recently removed “swim-with-dolphins” programs from its offered onshore excursions. Ask your cruise liner to do the same. Every cruise provides travelers with comment cards upon disembarkment. Letters to the editor of major magazines can be e-mailed to:

Caribbean Traveler: editor@caribbeantravelmag.com

Cruise America: cruise-editor@centurysports.net

National Geographic Traveler: traveler@nationalgeographic.com

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Still waiting for any response to the question about feeding the wild fish at the snorkel park. Truthfully I don't have a problem with it, you should do what you want on your vacation, as should everyone else! But it was a question that was addressed you now a few times, surfgirl, but you always seem to ignore it?:confused:

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Shhhh! You're being too logical, her head might spin around!

 

But seriously, I would like to hear the answer too. And also why she thought insulting me on the basis of my supposed "conscience" AFTER I outlined how my conscience was quite secure would be effective.

 

So, Surfgirl, why is it? Why is feeding the tropical fish okay? Why didn't you read my post carefully? And why are you STILL evading these questions?

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Nice attempt to change the subject because you know that the Bermuda swim with the dolphins program is cruel. I'm not falling for it. It's a distraction tactic that is usually used on internet forums as a last resort when someone is backed into a corner and can't defend their position.

 

Now.. back to our regularly scheduled debate... :D

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Nice attempt to change the subject because you know that the Bermuda swim with the dolphins program is cruel. I'm not falling for it. It's a distraction tactic that is usually used on internet forums as a last resort when someone is backed into a corner and can't defend their position.

Nobody is changing the subject, Surfgirl. It's exactly the same subject. You apparently have no answer for why swim-with-dolphins is cruel but feed-the-fish is somehow appropriate. Hypocrite much?

 

Oh wait, I know! It's because all the little fishies are dumb and dolphins are smart right? Is that why? The fish don't count as much because they're not as cute?

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Now.. back to our regularly scheduled debate... :D

 

 

Debate??? What a joke! There is NO debate! There is just YOU trying to make those that do NOT agree with you feel bad. That is all there is to it and at least for me - it ain't working! So go ahead and call me a cruel, mean, and whatever else because I like it!

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I have stated many times and will continue to do so....MY experience at Dolphin Quest in Bermuda was A LOT of FUN! Anyone interested in doing this activity on THEIR vacation should do so. If you are opposed to such things then don't do it, go and do something else YOU want to do! NO change of subject for me. I am sure you (surfgirl) will again go on a rant and insinuate all kinds of things about me, because I won't bend to your narrow way of thinking, so go ahead, my opinion will still remain the same.

 

On another note....she won't answer about the fish, because it is something that she likes to do, so to her it is acceptable.

 

Thanks ETOILE and DOLFINMUSIC, for reading my posts, I really did not intend for something I did on MY vacation and that I enjoyed to be such a huge topic, but I have to say I was a bit miffed when she called me a pet abuser, I couldn't be more different than that! Plus, I am sick of eveyone that wants to know about the dolphins or has liked it getting attacked by surfgirl, so I felt I had to take a stand! Thanks again for you support!:p

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Thanks for your post too Pittfan!

 

I said it before that if someone disagrees with the dolphin swim then I repsect that but don't put me down because I think otherwise. It really does not make me a bad person. I guess I could go kill a human and that would be fine with someone as long as I don't swim with the dolphins in Bermuda. :rolleyes:

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I have stated many times and will continue to do so....MY experience at Dolphin Quest in Bermuda was A LOT of FUN! Anyone interested in doing this activity on THEIR vacation should do so.

 

Glad it was fun for you, but did anyone ask the dolphins how much fun it was for them?

 

You have yet to defend your position with a single fact refuting the research I have posted here. Instead, you attempt to change the topic.

 

Now, would you care to present some facts for me? How about telling me about the lifespan of dolphins in captivity? Oh wait, you can't.. they have much shorter lifespans!

 

How about how how natural their environment is at Dolphin Quest? Oh wait, you can't.. they're kept in tiny tanks.

 

Come on.. I'm waiting! :)

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Still no answer about the non-cute fish. Nothing about whether Surfgirl is a vegetarian or wears leather, either.

 

If it's worth anything to you, Surfgirl, I actually plan to take your advice. I have never had the opportunity to swim with dolphins (despite all the research I have done on them, with that children's book) so I was looking forward to Dolphin Quest, but I am going to wait until I get to Nassau (someday...not this cruise) as you suggested.

 

Maybe it's not that the fish aren't cute. Maybe you've just realized how hypocritical you were and you can't admit it. *shrug*

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This is all I needed to know.....

 

 

http://dolphinquest.org/getthefacts/welfare/

 

Furthermore, here are my observations from my day in Bermuda. The staff was extreemely knowledgeable about the dolphins. We were given instructions to keep the dolphins safe. No one was attacked by a depressed dolphin while I was there, nor have I heard any NEWS reports of such incidents occuring. The facility was small, but did NOT seem CRUEL. Only a couple of dolphins are used at each time, and they are not forced to do anything, they don't make them come up to the humans, and we were told that if they don't do certain things, they will not force them to. They only allow a number of poeple in each group (ours had 6) and only a set numer of groups are taken each day. Also a portion of all of their proceeds goes to animal groups.

 

I again have NOT changed the subject. I will state AGAIN that I was interested in doing this so I did, if you don't like TOO BAD, don't do it.

 

Surfgirl is NOT a vegetarian, I have seen some of her other posts while I was researching the Crown. She eats lobster. So, I guess it is bad to swim with an ocean mammal, but ok to eat a crustacean???:eek:

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Now... where is the defense of your position? I have yet to see you refute any of facts I have presented here.

 

Oh, yeah... you can't... that's why you keep changing the subject.

 

(posting propaganda from Dophin Quest's site hardly qualifies)

 

Soldier on.

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Now... where is the defense of your position? I have yet to see you refute any of facts I have presented here.

 

Oh, yeah... you can't... that's why you keep changing the subject.

The defense is in post #107. Guess you missed it, but there it is.

 

As has already been indicated, nobody is changing the subject. You just can't admit that you're a hypocrite who feeds the fish.

 

Edit: Ah, I see you've edited your post. So you can read. Sorry you don't like the evidence that was presented, but it doesn't change the fact that it's evidence. You can't pick and choose, you know.

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You still have not defended your position. Actually, you have agreed with me. You admit the dolphins are kept in very small pens at Dolphin Quest. That is enough right there to tell me that you know these dolphins are being treated with cruelty.

 

The dolphins are put under extreme stress at Dolphin Quest just by the simple fact that the size of these very small tanks makes their sonar bounce off the walls and echo.

 

They're bombarded by an endless echo of their own vocalizations too. Can you imagine having to spend your whole life in a tiny room that echos each time you talk? Is that not mentally cruel?

 

And can you imagine having only enough room to be able to walk around in a circle for exercise? Did you know that in the wild dolphins swim up to 100 miles per day? Now they're confinded to virtual bathtubs at DolphinQuest. Is that not physically cruel? What crime did they commit to be imprisoned in such small, cruel quarters?

 

These dolphins can't use their sonar to chase live fish. It is like making you wear a blind fold for the rest of your life. Is that not cruel to be denied one of your natural senses?

 

Quite frankly, Etoile... you're doing me a big favor by continuing to argue with me in this thread without providing me any scientific defense of your position. The best you've been able to come up with is mere propaganda written by the very venue we are discussing. You are making it too easy to prove my point.

 

The more you argue, the more this thread comes to the top and gains the immediate attention of anyone who has never been to Bermuda and is looking for places to go. It allows me to warn those who are even *thinking* of supporting this horrible place as to the abominable conditions these poor, intelligent warm-blooded mammals are being contained in.

 

Thank you, Etoile! Soldier on... please! :D

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Surfgirl, please read this carefully:

 

I am not arguing with you. You may have noticed in post #106 that I said I agree with you. In fact, since the beginning, I have said that what I disagree with is your posting style and not your message.

 

You know what? I'm a lot more animal friendly than you: I DON'T EAT THEM. So quit barking up the wrong tree and start paying more attention to who you are talking to. If you don't, you are only hurting yourself, because people will see that you can't post sensibly.

 

And I still want to know why it's okay to feed the fish.

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This is all I needed to know.....

 

Furthermore, here are my observations from my day in Bermuda. The staff was extreemely knowledgeable about the dolphins. We were given instructions to keep the dolphins safe. No one was attacked by a depressed dolphin while I was there, nor have I heard any NEWS reports of such incidents occuring.

 

Injuries occur quite frequently in programs where the dolphins are under stress such as at Dolphin Quest. Below are a number of injury reports.

 

http://members.surfeu.fi/whale/eilat/articles/injury.html

 

And this quote explains why wild dolphins don't harm humans, yet there are reports of serious injuries in humans who participate in swim with the dolphin programs such as Dolphin Quest:

 

"There has never been a report of a wild dolphin injuring a human swimmer. However, the NMFS received more than a dozen reports of injuries to people who participated in SWTD programs, ranging from lacerations to broken bones and shock. One man suffered a cracked sternum when butted by a dolphin with his snout, and a woman received a broken arm when another dolphin butted her with his snout. Several dolphin biologists have noted that the injuries captive dolphins inflict on humans are rarely accidental; dolphins are extremely adept with their movements in water...."

 

"In fact. the stress inflicted by the unnatural conditions of captivity often causes dolphins to behave aberrantly toward people and other dolphins. A dolphin can inflict minor to serious injuries on people for various reasons, some of which are neither obvious nor predictable. The risk is always present and is potentially lethal."

 

http://members.surfeu.fi/whale/eilat/hsus/swtdnews.html

 

The facility was small, but did NOT seem CRUEL.

 

Please see my previous post regarding dolphins being kept in small pens and being denied the use of their sonar.

 

Only a couple of dolphins are used at each time, and they are not forced to do anything, they don't make them come up to the humans, and we were told that if they don't do certain things, they will not force them to.

 

AND.. if they don't participate t they know they do not eat!!! As stated before... the only way that they are able to get the dolphins to cooperate is by keeping them hungry all the time. In the wild, they forage for life fish. At Dolphin Quest, they are made to perform tricks in order to eat dead fish.

 

"Dolphins are wild animals whose natural behavioral repertoire does not include behaving like pets and circus clowns. In order to train dolphins to perform these unnatural behaviors, the trainer must first obtain complete control over the animals. This is accomplished by taking advantage of the captive dolphins' powerless predicament: They depend totally on their keepers to be fed. Once the hungry dolphins have surrendered to eating dead fish, the trainer teaches them that only when they perform a desired behavior; such as tolerating human swimmers or waving at the audience, do they receive their reward: a fish. This is how abnormal behaviors are enforced in a dolphin. No doubt, keeping the dolphins a little hungry induces them to continue performing in order to be fed. The captivity industry calls this training method 'positive reward.' From the dolphin's perspective, however, it's food deprivation."

 

http://www.dolphinproject.org/?pageid=22235

 

And you have done me a big favor, Etoile. I had originally thought the Bermuda Dolphin Swim was cruel soley because of the tiny pens that they are forced to live in. But, in doing a lot of reading for this thread, I now know that ALL Swim with the Dolphin programs are cruel. Thank you for helping me get more fully educated on this subject.

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I occasionally return to this post, which I started by asking some simple questions last year, only to be amazed at this discussion... Summary of my visit last July to DolphinQuest in Bermuda. Loved it! One of the best experiences I've shared with my daughter. As I stated before, she's interested in becoming a veterinarian - who knows maybe a marine biologist. Without a doubt, the experience only added to her interest in animals. In MY opinion, DolphinQuest was a humane way for my daughter to get more involved with marine life. In addition, I'm glad that DolphinQuest donates to various environmental programs. I highly recommend the DolphinQuest program to anyone that wants to partake.

 

Regarding the earlier comments that dolphins in captivity have shorter life spans - that is totally untrue. The information below is from www.dolphinproject.org - which is an organization which is against the "billion dollar dolphin slave trade."

 

"Furthermore, in order to calculate the average lifespan of captive dolphins one would have to know the exact time of the dolphins' capture or birth, and the exact time of their death. It's simply not possible to gather this information, as it's not made available to us by the dolphin captivity industry. In many countries there is no obligation to report dolphin deaths, nor is it required by law to report how many dolphins died during the capture process."

The most serious error associated with using mortality rates as an argument against dolphin captivity is the fact that it opens the door for dolphinaria to use mortality rates in defense of dolphin captivity. By putting so much emphasis on a captive dolphin's lifespan compared with that of a dolphin in nature, we reduce the dolphin captivity issue to being a question of how long a captive dolphin can be kept alive."



 

Just for the record... I wear leather. I eat meat (and fish). But I don't feed the fish when I swim, because I know what it does to the ecosystem.

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Varitek:

 

I'm glad you had fun, but did the dolphins? Does your pleasure erase the pain you have caused to them?

 

Let me ask you, how humane are the size of the pens at Dolphin Quest?

 

 

Here is the text of Jean-Michel Cousteau's open letter to the Cayman Free Press, part of a broader effort to keep swim-with-the-dolphin programs out of the Cayman Islands.

 

April 21st, 2003

 

Editor

 

Cayman Free Press

 

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.

 

Respectfully,

 

Jean-Michel Cousteau

 

President

Ocean Futures Society

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Surfgirl - I believe numerous people have responded to you regarding your question on whether the dolphins had fun. The dolphins actually did have a good time. No, that's not because dolphins have a jaw that makes them appear as though they're smiling - it's more the feeling that I received from them. Lastly, my daughter nor I caused any pain to them.

 

I believe it's also been mentioned that Dolphin Quest in Bermuda is expanding the dolphin's living area.

 

Continuing to berate and humiliate people really isn't going to help your cause. You've asked for documented feedback regarding dolphins. I've provided you lifespan information directly from a "Dolphin anti-captivity" organization. Your response?

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