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Captivity Isn’t Entertainment: The truth behind Dolphin shows.

Dolphins are incredibly intelligent and energetic animals, with a pod of wild dolphins travelling up to 100 kilometres a day in the open ocean. Dolphin families usually remain together for life, with each member having an important role in their pod. Dolphins each have a signature whistle, which is very similar to how humans have names. However, these beautiful creatures are being targeted for entertainment and money purposes.


Dolphins that have been captured must endure intense training to adapt to captivity. They have to first be taught how to accept their new diet of dead fish, instead of hunting. Invasive operations are also carried out, such as tubing. Tubing is where a dolphin is trained to accept a tube into its stomach, this is due to if they become sick they can be force fed.

In order to train dolphins to be accustomed to human interactions, a food deprivation technique is used. Dolphins in captivity need to be trained to deal with human interaction for entertainment and examination processes. Dolphins training involves keeping the dolphins hungry, so they comply with training and instructing, in return for food.

Dolphins do not swim with people, “kiss” people or tow people through the water because they like to, they do it because they have to. None of these are natural behaviours, and every captive dolphin is trained to correctly perform these behaviours because if they do not, they will not eat. This is the fact of every captive dolphin encounter. 


The brutal truth is that dolphins in captivity have a brutal life. Tanks lack depth, which means dolphins cannot deep dive, resulting in over exposure from the sun, becoming sunburnt and blistered. Dolphins in captivity usually have poor and damaged eye site due to their tanks being heavily chlorinated, burning their eyes.

Dolphins as we mentioned earlier usually always stay with their families and have their own ways of communicating, learning all life skills from their elders. When dolphins are captured they are placed with unfamiliar groups, making communication between them impossible. Aggression is usually sparked between them due to their frustration of having limited space. Dolphins are incredibly intelligent, being in a bare tank with no diversity, causes frustration and depression, majority of dolphins in captivity are treated with anti-depressant medication.

Dolphins in the ocean can escape from aggressor, however in a tank there is no escape, leaving dolphins with scars and cuts. In prolonger confinement depression and self-harming behaviour occurs. A dolphin called Hugo who was in the Miami Seaquarium was observed repeatedly smashing his head against his tank walls, a behaviour that has been observed in other captive marine mammals, along with gnawing on tank walls and gates. On the opposite extreme, other captive dolphins may float listlessly at the surface of the water, a stereotypic behaviour known as “logging,” or deliberately beach themselves on a platform or stage.

Can these dolphins be release?

You will have been told no, they cannot, and that is one of the biggest lies SeaWorld likes to sell. Ric O'Barry is an American animal rights activist who was a former animal trainer, he is the founder and director of Dolphin Project, who has stated:

"I’ve released a number of captive dolphins back into the wild. One of the biggest lies being told by the likes of SeaWorld and others in the dolphin abusement industry is that dolphins in captivity can never be released back into the wild. –  Ric O’Barry"

As each dolphin reacts differently to captivity, each release back into the wild needs to be catered and perfected differently for each dolphin. Ric O'Barry explains that:

"I have worked with dolphins who, when reunited with the sea, very quickly remembered who and what they were before their capture. Others needed more help, more time. So the most important part of my job is patience. I must simply sit back and observe the dolphins with a clear and open mind, allowing them to show me how best to help them regain their identity as opportunistic foragers, wild and free. When every captive dolphin is different from every other one in a thousand different ways, returning one to the wild, his or her natural habitat, is therefore more art than science."

How you can help

There are several documentaries which show the brutality of dolphins and orcas in captivity, and how unethical and cruel is truly is. These are “Blackfish”, “The Cove” and “Blood Dolphin$”. 

  1. Take the pledge, do not buy into dolphin, whale or other marine creature shows;

  2. Get signing the petitions to end the brutality - Ask The Russian Government To Ban The Wild Capture Of Orcas - End All Dolphin-Assisted Therapy Programs -End All Dolphin Petting Pools -End Swim-With-Dolphins Programs -End All Imports & Exports of Dolphins Across U.S. Borders -End All Captures of Dolphins for Public Display in U.S. Territorial Waters

  3. Donate to the cause;

  4. Learn more about the issue;

  5. Spread the word to family and friends.

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