Captivity giant, SeaWorld is to end the practice of allowing trainers to surf on dolphins held at its theme parks as part of their captivity entertainment shows.
Trainers will also no longer stand on the rostrum or nose of dolphins.
In a letter signed on behalf of Orlando-based SeaWorld Entertainment, the company states that it “no longer demonstrates ‘surfing’ (on dolphins) at any of its locations, and plans to phase out the demonstration of standing on rostrums within the next few months, despite its belief that neither of these behaviours are harmful to the animals in any way.”
SeaWorld visitor numbers plummeted following growing negative public feeling towards the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity and the release of the film, Blackfish. The film, which has gripped audiences around the world, looks into the shocking death of Sea World trainer, Dawn Brancheau, who was killed in 2010 when the orca Tillikum dragged her under the water at Sea World in Orlando, Florida. The film also looks at many other similar incidents and raises safety questions about the wider captivity industry as a whole.
Dolphins in the wild are used to swimming many miles every day, and so keeping them in a small featureless prison cell is cruel. Whales and dolphins continue to be captured and imprisoned in marine parks around the world for one reason: they make money for big corporations.
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