Dolphin Defenders boycott businesses

POSTED: 11/20/14 10:50 PM

St. Maarten – “We cannot endorse or support local businesses which actively promote what amounts to the enslavement and exploitation of an animal that is self-aware and sentient,” read a statement of Dolphin Defenders St. Maarten, which was issued in response to the association’s growing concern regarding the amount of businesses on St. Maarten that are promoting Anguilla’s captive dolphin facility. With the reopening of Anguilla’s dolphin facility, many St. Maarten businesses are promoting an activity, which, as Dolphin Defenders believes, should be banned. The organization went on to say that although the people of Anguilla should decide on an activity that is morally wrong and exists solely for the purpose of economic gain through exploitation, it was disappointed to see the promotion of the captive dolphin program here in St. Maarten. In the past, the organization foiled an effort to establish a captive dolphin facility on St. Maarten.

In addition, the organization is concerned about reports that six extra dolphins will be transferred to the Anguilla dolphin facility to be held captive in enclosures which are already too small for its current population of dolphins. “Dolphins are not made to be in an enclosed pen; these are animals that travel up to hundreds of miles a day. Dolphins which are kept in captivity are done so in very bad conditions, with many of the animals showing horrific injuries and living a fraction of what they would in the wild. Dolphins living in captivity often also show social problems and neurotic behavior, which results in aggression to both fellow dolphins and to the humans that train them and the humans that pay money in order to swim with them,” explained Dolphin Defenders.

“Having a Captive Dolphin Facility on St. Maarten and promoting one on Anguilla or on St. Kitts, for that matter, is essentially the same thing; it is based on the exploitation of a majestic creature for the economic benefit of greedy individuals, and we urge the companies that do promote these programs to reconsider. The tourist high season coincides with the time of year where many dolphins and whales are passing through our waters, and we encourage businesses to invest in whale and dolphin watching trips where you can meet the animals on their own terms instead of in an artificial pool or pen which is essentially a prison environment,” stated Dolphin Defenders.

Despite receiving negative international attention, St. Kitts is looking into opening its own captive dolphin facility, which is another concern of Dolphin Defenders St. Maarten. This increase in captive dolphins for Anguilla and St. Kitts’s plans for a facility come amidst strong international opposition to keeping dolphins in captivity. Captive dolphin parks, and the communities that condone them, are experiencing negative press from international pressure groups. Movies, such as Blackfish and The Cove, highlight the damaging effects captivity have on killer whales and dolphins and the inhumane slaughtering of dolphins in Japan.

“We urge that governments consider a program where education and conservation of wild cetaceans, including whales and dolphins, is the focus, instead of captive programs, which are both inherently dangerous to the animals and the people that frequent them,” concluded the Dolphin Defenders statement.

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