I’ve never seen a dolphin or orca show at an oceanarium, and, until fairly recently I wouldn’t have turned down the opportunity to watch one. Dolphins are beautiful, full of life and joy, and their cousins the killer whales – while slightly more sinister – are equally majestic.
I’ve changed my mind about dolphin shows (or, at least, formed an opinion), however, after reading up on the dolphin slaughter and capture in Taiji, Japan – subject of the documentary The Cove – and following some of the developments in the case of a trainer who was killed by an orca at Sea World in the United States last year.
You may not have a view on the matter of keeping cetaceans in captivity, or you may think it’s harmless. You may think it’s not even relevant to you as a South African, but there’s actually a dolphin show at uShaka Sea World in Durban – so these intelligent mammals are being kept captive right on our doorstep.
I encourage you to read this article, about the death of Dawn Brancheau, a trainer at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, and this article, which deals with the death of an orca trainer in the Canary Islands and with the issue more generally.
Wired also has an interview with a former killer whale trainer that highlights some of the physical and mental effects captivity has on these massive creatures. They are literally driven insane by being kept in captivity.
Please read about this – you ought to know.