Saturday the 6th of June saw a very important date in the diary – The London ‘Empty The Tanks’ protest and march. Over the last week, there have been demonstrations and marches all over the world protesting against sea mammals in captivity. As seeing captive sea mammals trapped and exploited is one of my greatest dislikes, I was more than eager to come along and support my sea friends.
The demonstration was organised by Earthrace and the main supporting charity was Born Free. Dominic Dyer was there on behalf of Born Free to head up the demonstration and to rally supporters through his powerful speeches.
Other supporters were there from many rescue organisations including Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian Crew: Mark Muschamp, Michelle Norfolk, Michelle Targaryen-Clarke and Cori Ryan as well as my good friend Mia Sampietro from Whalefest.
I was there with Green World TV and caught up with Dominic Dyer on camera, inspirational speaker Sharon Bull and Earthrace’s Lucy who all spoke passionately about their support for the cause.
Once the supporters had rallied in Leicester Square, the crowds took to a peaceful demo down through Trafalgar Square and finally to Parliament square where Dominic Dyer made his powerful speech on why the world should not be supporting the capture and exploitation on marine mammals in parks such as Sea World. Sharon Bull stood up and read out her heart felt poem that she had written for the day’s gathering.
“Sea World Sucks”
Here are some facts behind the exploitation of marine mammals for captivity:
1) Every year, hundreds of dolphins and orcas are cruelly captured from the oceans to feed the multi million dollar industry of marine parks.
2) When they are captured, they are torn away from their families and pods, never to see them again. They are sensitive creatures with huge family bonds. Imagine your child being snatched from you on the streets of London never to be seen again.
3) There are many injuries and deaths during the captures and often whole pods can be decimated.
4) Removing young whales and dolphins can seriously affect the breeding of the existing mammals, as it takes away the genetic diversity and can affect future generations.
5) Dolphins and Whales do tricks for food at sea parks, not because they ‘like it’, but because food is being withheld from them. If they do not perform the trick, they do not get fed.
6) Many people are seriously hurt and killed while training with whales and dolphins. It is a dangerous and perilous profession.
7) The ‘small’ tanks you see the whales and dolphins perform in are often the ‘larger’ of the pools. Once the crowds leave, the marine animals are stored away overnight in smaller pools.
8) The chemicals from the pools burn and thin the skin of marine mammals. The sides of the pools graze their noses and skin. They often can be seen to be suffering from a condition called Fin Flop where the muscle in an orca’s fin looses its strength and collapses – this does not happen in the wild unless injury occurs.
9) These creatures often only make it to 25 years old in captivity due to the stress of being contained. This increases the likelihood of disease and death. They can live up to 80 years in the wild.
10) A dolphin on average swims 100 miles a day – how can a small chlorinated pool be humane to keep them in?
11) Aggression is rife, as many dolphin’s live in select pods, so by forcing them to swim with dolphins they dislike is very dangerous to their welfare.
12) Frustration from being kept in such a small space also results in both aggression to fellow tank mates and to human keepers.
13) Sadly captive mammals are on the increase due to developing countries such as China looking to the West for inspiration. Please do not support any marine park with captive dolphins and whales or you will be feeding their industry.
14) The Taiji Cove slaughter in Japan would not exist without the Sea park industry, as dolphin meat is now becoming outdated and disliked by the Japanese. Dolphin meat is often frozen as it is not being eaten. The only reason for the annual capture is to make money from the sale of the dolphins to sea parks around the world.
15) The end to marine mammal capture falls to families to educate their children and by not supporting any park which exploits captive sea mammals. If your child wants to swim with a dolphin or whale, please explore holiday options where you can swim free in the ocean on the terms of the sea life that ‘choose’ to swim with you.
Dolphins are now being used as ‘midwives’ in birthing pools. The irony is that most of these dolphins will have been snatched away from their families as young dolphins, never to see their parents again, to be taken to be used for human gratification as ‘forced midwives’ in small birthing pools. Here is a You Tube Video which illustrates this:
Finally – Please tell me what is more beautiful?
1) A captive, sad and lonely dolphin in a small, chlorinated tank with cuts and scrapes to his face and being forced to do tricks for food to screaming crowds.
2) A wild and free dolphin swimming fast and free alongside your boat, jumping over the waves, a free spirit, jumping because he wants to and curiously approaching you as you snorkel alongside him in the open ocean.
I know which one I would choose…
#wildandfree #emptythetanks #emptythetanksworldwide