Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Georgia Aquarium: AT&T Dolphin Tails

 Today was opening day for Georgia Aquarium's and AT&T's new partnership show "Dolphin Tails". Although I have not seen the show, I am sure it is filled with dolphins jumping high in the air, doing double back flips and other trained "behaviors". I can also bet that once these behaviors are done, the dolphins rush to the sidelines to get their much  awaited reward, a dead half frozen fish. And of course the dolphin will have a beautiful smile on its face the whole time, because they are so happy that humans care so deeply about them. The visitors will be mesmerized by the sites of the dolphins and watching them do their thing. Many of them probably has never seen a dolphin before, and they will talk about how great it is to be able to have the experience, right there in the middle of downtown Atlanta. Great times will be had by all!

  WAKE UP PEOPLE! Do you really not see all the wrong in what was just said? Let me just ask you a few questions. If you have one good answer to any of them, or can prove me wrong in ANY way, please, tell me. I can not tell you how bad I want to be proven wrong! First off, Dolphins have lived on this earth far longer then humans. They have not only survived, but have thrived in the wild. Why on earth do they need humans to teach them "behaviors"? What could teaching them double back flips possibly do to help in the wild? Do you honestly think that keeping them in captivity for human enjoyment is helping them? If so, PLEASE explain how. Secondly... Do you have a dog? We are owned by two amazing dogs. They are both happy and healthy and are treated like queens. They are feed daily and get treats multiple times a day. Both are pretty laid back, but when its food time or treat time both get extremely excited. One, Malika, gets so excited at food time that she jumps around, runs in circles, and I could get her to do pretty much whatever I wanted her to....because I know she wants that food. My point? Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe the dolphins don't really want to do these silly human tricks, but know if they want that food they have to? Have you ever actually noticed that  once the trick is done they rush back to their trainer...mouth opened? They want food. They don't care if you or their trainer are amazed by their skill...they just want to eat! Next, besides going to a marine park, have you ever watched a show or read anything about dolphins? Do you know what they normally eat or how they hunt? Dolphins do not eat dead fish. They do not eat dead anything! They are hunters, not scavengers. And they damn sure do not eat frozen food in the wild. Why in the world would they want or need too? So if captivity is such a good thing for dolphins, and the goal is to make it as natural as the facility can, why on earth are they served dead fish..normally still somewhat frozen? Last...why on earth would anyone think these animals are happy? Oh...wait..its the smile! Lord knows they have the most happy, amazing smiles! Well please take alook at my previous post The Dolphins Smile, that should sum it up.

News is already out about the dolphin show today. I found this early story from Georgia news 11Alive interesting. You can find the full story Here they have a video and pictures.

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Aquarium is bigger than ever with Saturday's opening of a new exhibit called AT&T Dolphin Tales.
It covers 84-thousand square feet of space and includes 1.8 million gallons of water. It took three years to build and cost $110 million dollars.
"We've been through it. We've been preparing. Now to see it open to the public is awesome," said Georgia Aquarium President & COO David Kimmel.
The kids from the Ron Clark Academy performed an original song for the grand opening, called "I'll Swim Up."
Alea DaCosta, 8, of Ellenwood was the guest of the hour who had a chance to help with the countdown to opening. Her grandmother wrote to the Aquarium to share how much Alea loves dolphins.
"Because they're playful and cute," she said. "This is my first time seeing a dolphin. I didn't know how fast they could go."

AT&T Dolphin Tales includes a viewing gallery that guests can access all day, plus two daily dolphin shows that cost extra.

The dolphins are expected to be a big draw, but a small group of protesters also turned out Saturday.
Their message: captivity kills.
"They belong in the ocean," said Becky Pugh, who organized the protest with postings on Facebook. "They have a God-given right to swim in a straight line as far as they can."
She calls her group "Free Atlanta-11." The name comes from the number of dolphins on exhibit. She handed out DVDs and pamphlets during Saturday's protest.
Kimmel, the Georgia Aquarium's president, responded this way: "We all love dolphins, and we believe this is the way to get people to open their hearts and care."
Ticket prices range from $7 for children and $12.50 for adults, in addition to admission prices. The Dolphin Tales theatre seats 1,800.
The gallery features 11 dolphins that were born in human care.
The trainers do daily dolphin assessments in addition to weekly exams by veterinarians.
They use praise and affection to teach the dolphins how to present different body parts to make caring for them easier.

"The reason this is successful is because our trainers lavish praise and affection on the animals," said Michael Hunt, director of animal training.
"I think the care we give our animals is paramount," Hunt said. "It's our number one priority."

I just want to touch a few things in this story.

 First off, I want to give BIG props to all of the protesters who showed up to let their voice be heard. The very fact that they were able to get the news media to put in print "Captivity Kills" is huge and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

For Mr. Kimmel..and anyone who wants to defend him... You state  "We all love dolphins, and we believe this is the way to get people to open their hearts and care.". I must ask you Sir, is the human race so self absorbed and selfish that the only way we can love or understand something, is by holding it in captivity? Is this really where humanity has gone? Have we really become so advanced in our technology and our hunger for money that we have forgotten the lessons of our own history? I get that some people feel the human race is above all others, but do you really think that because we may be smarter, we have the right to do with other lives any way we please?
  Not all that long ago a man decided he wanted to do away with people that didn't look, think, and believe like him. He gathered these people up, they went through a selection process, those that fit his needs were sent to a facility to work for him, those that didn't were killed. Please, tell me how what this man did is any different then what happens to dolphins in Taiji? Sir, do you support Hitlers actions? Now, please, do not come back at me with the same old line. Do not come back with the "We do not have dolphins from Taiji, we do not support what they do, and we would never take dolphins from there." that line is so old, and so deceiving. I know that none of the dolphins came from Taiji. But, since we are on the topic, the article claims that all 11 of the dolphins were captive born. This is not the case. Truth is one dolphin, Shaka, was actually captured in the wild on 8/20/1988 for Dolphin Quest Hawaii. Why was this left out? She was not rescued she was captured, for the the sole reason of entertaining people. And please, tell me about the other 10 dolphins. Although all born in captivity, where were their parents born? I can tell you, because I did the research, they were captive. They all came from the wild, captured for entertaining and breeding. Its not hard to find this information out. You just have to look. So, although 10 of the 11 dolphins where in fact born in captivity, 1 of them and the other 10's parents went through hell, riped away from their families, so that they could produce second generation dolphins, that were not wild caught. So greedy money makers could stand up and say..."These animals were not taken from the wild!".  We all know how Hitler's actions were dealt with. People stood up for the right of humanity, they ended Hitler's actions and saved and freed those he kept captive. Sadly for the Dolphins, people as a whole just DO NOT really care about their well being. If they did they would not be paying ungodly amounts of money to support these facilities.

Kimmel also stated "children will benefit the most" .."This is what will inspire them to be the next advocates for the next generation and generations to come," he said. "If we don't expose them now, they'll never get a chance to see this."   Firstly, my 3 year old son loves dolphins. He knows what they are and he adores them, yet he has never seen one in person, not even in the wild. He knows them and loves them, because I took the time to teach him about them. On the same token, I have never seen a humpback whale or a minke whale, but that does not mean I will not fight to save them. I have never seen a great white shark, but that does not make it ok to kill them. Manatees, leather back sea turtles, a walrus...the list goes on and on. The thought of not having compassion for a life just because you have never seen one is outrageous. Tell me, how many starving children in Africa have you met in person? If none, does that make you care about their pain and suffering any less.
  How about this... all across the globe in hard to reach areas there are tribes that have never seen or know about the modern world. They have their own cultures and ways of life that is completely unknown to the modern society. We know nothing about them, we have no clue how they have survived so long, yet we know they are out there. If I gathered a team of men, went into one of their villages, took them all against their will, brought them back to a facility, so that I and my team of experts could study and learn from them, would that be ok? I would feed them and care for them and sure, they would be completely out of their natural environment, but it would give us a better understand of their lives. Would the study be excepted by the modern day world? NO! No, there is no way it would. I would be arrested and thrown in jail for so many violations of the law, I myself would never see the light of day. So tell me, why is it any different with dolphins? Just because they are not human?

 I must ask the question one more time. Is this what the human race has turned into? Is this who we are as a society? People who do not care about the rights of other living creatures? Or only care as long as we are making money and entertained? Has our technology made us so naive to really think we are better then and worth more then any other living creature? Have we forgotten that most of the animals on this earth has lived here far longer then humans and would be just fine with out us? Can we say the same? Could we live without them? Nope! So why is it ok to use them for our own selfish gain?

Please Boycott The Georgia Aquarium and AT&T! Do not support any marine mammal facility or any company that partners or sponsors them. When you do, you are just as guilty as they are.

For the love of the Atlanta 11 and all other dolphin, captive and free....Take a stand and be their voice. Captivity is slavery, and it kills!

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