When I was a baby, I was kidnapped.
They arrived to our home unannounced. Mom stayed very close to me, positioning herself between the attackers and myself. She called on my sisters and brothers, all trying to defend me because I was the baby. One by one they pulled them away from the protective circle, hitting them with violence. Then, they reached mom. I was pressing my whole body to hers for safety, crying in terror, when a knife went through her heart. Her blood covered my face, and she was still calling me “be strong baby, be strong”. Even when the strangers grabbed me and I could not move, mom was fighting to protect me. I could hear her screaming in pain and fear, I could feel her blood dripping though my body. Then I heard mom gasping for breath when she said her last words “be strong”.
That was many years ago, but I still remember it as if it was yesterday. The horror of that day still plays in my head over and over. My kidnappers forced me to live in solitary confinement at first. Then, they took me to a different jail, and I’ve been forced to live with other prisoners, who like me, were kidnapped when young. Every day, we have to do circus tricks so the kidnappers will give us food.
If you see me smile, it’s not because I’m happy to see you. It’s because my face just looks this way. I’m a slave. You pay my kidnappers so you can enjoy seeing my tricks.
Neither you nor your children will learn anything noble from the suffering of a slave. Inside, my heart cries with the desperation of the captive. I cry for the freedom I lost, for my family, slaughtered. I would have invited you to my ocean home, and you would have met my family and learn from that experience. But to you, I’m just one more dolphin in a round swimming pool.
If captive dolphins and killer whales (orcas) could talk to you, this is what they will tell you. Dolphins and orcas are highly intelligent and social beings. They live in their ocean home in family groups, they call each other by their own names, they have their own language, their own culture and society. We know this is true through numerous scientific studies.
Every time you go to a dolphin or orca show, you are validating the cruelty and slaughter of their capture. This is a crime against nature and against humanity itself.
The award winning film The Cove, demonstrated how the capture of wild dolphins for aquarium and swim with dolphin shows is linked to dolphin slaughter.
Even if the dolphin has been living in captivity for many years, time does not erase the horror of the crime . A mother dolphin will not give away her baby. She will fight to the death defending her baby. What will you do if a stranger tried to take away your child? you will give your life defending your baby. It’s the same for mother dolphins and orcas and their family group.
As a consumer, you can make a difference. Learn about wild dolphins, and don’t pay to see captive dolphins. Understand that captive dolphins are not just one more attraction, they are slaves kept in captivity against their will. Instead, join a whale-watching or a wild dolphin boat tour. Support the Clean Water Act, and initiatives to ensure our rivers and oceans have clean water, so the wild dolphins and whales will have a clean ocean to live on. Support marine conservation initiatives that promote sustainable fishing practices, so wild dolphins and whales will have food to eat.
Above all, be human.
- Poll: Public opposes keeping whales captive (travel.usatoday.com)
- ‘Death at SeaWorld’ Highlights Growing Movement against Keeping Orcas in Captivity (hsus.typepad.com)
- Killer in your wake (smh.com.au)
- STUDY: Dolphins form elite societies… (telegraph.co.uk)
- SeaWorld Attack Video Proves That Whale Captivity Hurts Everybody [Video] (gawker.com)
- OSHA Reaction From A SeaWorld Trainer (timzimmermann.com)