The world is pushing back on the acceptability of keeping marine mammals in captivity, and pushing together on July 27TH, 2013, in a worldwide event called Empty the Tanks.
The National Aquarium in Baltimore has ended its dolphin shows. Sea Life Centres, one of the world’s largest aquarium groups, spoke out against the Georgia Aquarium’s NOAA permit application to import 18 beluga whales from Russia.
- India has decided not to allow the establishment of dolphinaria within its borders. In May of this year, the Indian Ministry of Forests and the Environment issued an official statement, “Various scientists… have suggested that the unusually high intelligence… means that dolphins should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights… (it is) morally unacceptable to keep them for captive entertainment purposes.”
- The U.S. Divisional Director of Sea Life Centres, Janine DiGioaccino, stated, “I feel compelled to register the strongest possible opposition to the proposed import of the 18 wild-caught belugas to the Georgia aquarium. SEA LIFE concurs with the view of all the leading authorities in this field and indeed the majority of ordinary American citizens canvassed on this subject, that cetaceans are not suited to captivity…no matter how spacious or well-designed the facilities.”
While there is little doubt that aquarium-goers are entertained by the shows, all the jumping and splashing belies the notion that the whales and dolphins are not happy in their captive conditions, despite the dolphins’ “smile”. As Ric O’Barry, likely the world’s most-recognized dolphin advocate and author of Behind the Dolphin Smile, notes, “A dolphin’s smile is the greatest deception. It creates the illusion that they’re always happy.”
Enter Rachel Greenhalgh, a Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardian, who was standing in opposition to the Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt in the 2012/2013 season, when she had an idea to galvanize people into a worldwide event focused on ending marine mammal captivity. Launched in April, the event has grown to events in countries including Japan, Argentina, Canada, Australia and the United States, and is still growing.
Both a demonstration of the support for dolphin and whale freedom and an opportunity for more education, these events fortuitously occur during the same time frame as the U.S. opening of the new widely-acclaimed documentary film, Blackfish, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and released by Magnolia Pictures. The film focuses on the tragic death of a trainer by an orca housed at SeaWorld Orlando and shows that the captive conditions are unsafe for humans as well as unhealthy for the animals.
If you would like more information about this event or to schedule an interview, please contact Rachel Greenhalgh by visiting http://www.emptythetanksworldwide.com – You can also “LIKE” the Empty The Tanks Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/EmptyTheTanksWorldwide