My name is Harry and I am 11 years old. I am writing to you because I was concerned to see that you are promoting and supporting The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.
The reason this worries me is because The Mirage keeps dolphins captive and this is cruel and inhumane. I thought that you were an animal lover and would be upset by this as well. I am shocked and sad that you don’t care about these dolphins.
On The Mirage website they claim their dolphin habitats are for scientific research and education. There doesn’t seem to be anything educational about what they do with dolphins. They charge people money to do activities with dolphins.
A new “experience” they offer is Painting with Dolphins. How is this for research or education? Do dolphins do this in the wild, in their natural habitat? We all know this is wrong and The Mirage are exploiting these animals to make money. Forcing a paintbrush into the mouth of a dolphin is very upsetting. It is cruel to treat animals in this inhumane way.
The Mirage also offers paying customers the opportunity to be a “Trainer for a day”. To be a trainer you have to force the dolphins to do silly tricks. The dolphins don’t perform tricks in the wild – I’ve never seen a dolphin in the wild balance a ball on their nose – this is not educational. It is also a well known fact that dolphins are deprived of food to make them do these silly circus tricks. In the wild, dolphins are free to hunt for food whenever they feel like it.
Ellen, I would like to know if you think these activities are educational or done for the purpose of research. To me, it sounds like they are doing these things to make money and just telling the public that it’s for education and research.
There are lots of documentaries, for example ‘Spy in the Pod’, Blackfish, The Cove and also lots of books that educate us about dolphins. We don’t need to see them or keep them in captivity to learn about them.
On their website The Mirage states “Guests see the dolphins in a naturalistic environment, exhibiting natural behaviors”. How is a pool in the middle of a desert a naturalistic environment and how can a dolphin painting be called a natural behavior?
Being someone who says they are an animal lover, I would think you would see that keeping dolphins in captivity and forcing them to do tricks is wrong. You are a big celebrity and lots of people listen to what you say. By promoting The Mirage you are telling the world that you think it’s ok to keep dolphins captive.
After seeing you talk about the Cove I thought you were aware of the bigger issue. These dolphins in the Mirage may not come from the Taiji dolphin slaughter, but supporting dolphin habitats and shows contributes to the slaughter. If no one buys a ticket, there is no need to hunt and capture dolphins.
I would like to ask you Ellen to stop promoting and supporting The Mirage Hotel. There are lots of other great hotels that you can promote that don’t hurt and mistreat animals.
Thank you for reading my letter. We all love dolphins but we don’t need to see them to love. We can love them just as much when they are swimming wild and free.
From Harry Morgan
and all the dolphins held prisoner in habitats and parks all over the world.
A little over a week ago, the terrible Taiji season finished for another year. Just because the capture and slaughter has finished, doesn’t mean we stop raising awareness and fighting for dolphins. There are many dolphins suffering in captivity and we need to help them!
The World Society of the Protection of Animals says that “53% of newly captured dolphins dies in the first 3 months”. This happens because of stress, unhealthy water and the dolphins being exposed to human infection. These dolphins are dying so that we can be ‘entertained’ and ‘have an amazing dolphin experience’.
One very popular way sea parks make their money is through swim with dolphin programs. There are many reasons why a life of captivity is bad for dolphins, (see here and here for reasons), and swim with dolphin programs just add to the list!
These ‘encounters’ are often advertised as being educational, where you can ‘shake hands with a dolphin’. Dolphins held in captivity are in an unnatural environment and there is nothing natural for the dolphin (or us) about shaking hands or kissing dolphins for a photo. Education is about learning facts and truths. You can learn a lot more by reading books and researching the internet.
It might surprise some uninformed people to know that dolphins are being forced to participate in these swim programs, just like they are being forced to do silly tricks for the public. Trainers deprive the dolphins of food as a way of making them shake hands, jump, balance a ball and kiss. The dolphins have no choice – no trick means no food. The dolphins cannot escape this life, they are prisoners and slaves.
Swim with dolphin programs are very stressful for the dolphins as they are being forced to ‘swim’ in shallow water and beach themselves so that paying customers can touch them. This behaviours are not natural for the dolphins and we shouldn’t be abusing them for our entertainment.
Please don’t buy a ticket to a dolphins show. This is how we can stop the abuse of animals. If no one goes to the show, there will be no shows!
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Oceanbluesblog and
And please remember……..
At the end of last year I got a message from Lincoln O’Barry. Everyone knows, I am a big fan of Ric & Lincoln so this was very exciting for me. Lincoln asked if I would like to be a Dolphin Project Youth Ambassador and of course I said YES!
I am so excited and proud to be a spokesperson and honoured to be asked.
I don’t like to see dolphins suffering or being hunted and will try really hard to get the word out about what is happening in Taiji and marine parks around the world.
I’d like other people, young and old, to join me and spread the word, to help save dolphins and raise awareness of this issue.
A few weeks ago I started a Cove Club at my school. We live on Croker Island so we are called “Croker Cove Club.”
We watched the movie The Cove and my friends were very upset about what is happening in Taiji. One of my friends said “There is too much sadness and too many lies”. I think she is right. Everyone said they were shocked by what was happening. They also think dolphins should be free to live in the ocean.
It would be great if more kids started a Cove club in their school. We need to get more kids involved to speak up about Taiji and the cruelty of keeping marine life in captivity.
Please start a club if you can!
Last week, Australia for Dolphins asked me to write a guest blog for their website. If you are in Australia some of you might be aware of the ABC television show Blue Zoo. This program is filmed at the terrible Dolphin Marine Magic in NSW and appears to support captivity rather than ‘teach conservation’. These parks and shows always use the same line ‘we are teaching people about conservation’ but sadly this just isn’t true.
If you would like to read my article you can visit here http://bit.ly/1uaKtgN
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter- @oceanbluesblog
And here’s my Facebook- www.facebook.com/oceanbluesblog
To the producers of The Today Show Australia,
I was upset and disappointed to hear that you are going to be filming at SeaWorld this week. By filming at Sea World you are encouraging people to go there and promoting an unnatural life in captivity for all the animals.
Are you aware that SeaWorld deprives their animals of food as a way of training them to do tricks? Did you know that dolphins in their natural habitat don’t jump through hoops, spin hoops or do other silly tricks?
Did you know that they are only given frozen fish? Dolphins don’t get the chance to eat fresh food. It’s been reported that drugs are put into the frozen fish to stop them getting sick. Dolphins get very sick living outside their natural habitat.
Did you know that the Dolphin Cove at SeaWorld is only 8 meters deep? In the wild dolphins are free to dive, play and hunt as deep as they want. The deepest dive recorded for a Bottlenose dolphin is 300 meters!
By promoting Sea World you are encouraging people to pay to visit dolphins in captivity. You are also encouraging the actions of the fishermen in Taiji Japan. At this time of year the fishermen of Taiji are driving dolphins into The Cove. Sea park trainers come to buy dolphins for up to $150,000. These dolphins are taken away from their families to spend the rest of their life in captivity. The dolphins not chosen are then slaughtered. Their meat is mislabeled as whale meat and it has high and dangerous levels of mercury.
Now, more people are aware of this situation and don’t agree with captivity. The real story is in the increase of this awareness. It is more important for people to be aware of the problems with captivity and the cruelty on the animals. This way we can stop the capture, buying, slaughter and imprisonment of these animals.
Dolphins have the right to be free. Humans have NO right to take away their freedom. Yes we all love dolphins. Sea World claims to love dolphins but the dolphins at Sea World are far from free and are not living like they do in the wild. We don’t need to see them in captivity to love them.
Please think about the dolphins and what is really happening.
Harry Morgan (Since dolphins can’t talk)