teach your children well

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Posted by ZihuaRob from (dup-200-65-89-235.prodigy.net.mx) on lunes, julio 15, 2002 at 22:51:24 :

In Reply to: Dolphin Swim Company in Ixtapa posted by diane from (?) on lunes, julio 15, 2002 at 18:23:45 :

Please Diane, I urge you not to support animal slavery and exploitation. Just the other day on the ocean not far from our bay I enjoyed the marvelous spectacle of seeing about a hundred dolphins that swam right up to us and alongside our boat for a good half hour, jumping and playing and eyeing us curiously yet without fear, but rather in friendship and trust. They were so close we could have pet them, and they were so beautiful that it made me wish in reincarnation so that I might come back as a dolphin. It breaks my heart to know that the dolphins enslaved in Ixtapa were once part of such a freedom-loving and wide-ranging group.

Teaching your children that it is acceptable to swim with captive dolphins is, in my humble opinion, teaching them not to respect wildlife or their right to freedom. We should apply the same standards to these highly intelligent and social animals as we do to our own species, for taking away their freedom is just as cruel, if not more so.

I'm sure your children have seen "Free Willy". Does it not appear hypocritical to promote respecting the right to freedom of an orca but not their cousin the dolphin? Would you not be sending mixed signals to your children by letting them swim with captive dolphins?

Our "modern" culture has become desensitized to the rights of the natural world in spite of all that we (should) have learned about it. We have become ethnocentrically and myopically allowed to believe that the natural world is here for our conquest, domination and exploitation. Mother Nature often has to give us rude wake-up calls that remind us that this simply is not so, though we quickly forget her lessons in a way that only the selfish human race seems capable of.

But simply put yourself in the dolphins' place for a moment. Imagine being free in the vast blue ocean with your family and friends, absolutely content and in love with your life and in complete harmony with your world. Then imagine being trapped in a net, removed from your habitat, rudely and roughly manhandled and transported to the confines of a containment tank (or pool if you want to call it so) and abused and mistreated so that you will obey commands and perform tricks to keep your masters happy so they will feed you. Then imagine the profound sadness of realizing you will never ever swim in your vast blue world of water with your family and friends again because you have been condemned to be a slave for the rest of your days doing the bidding of your masters.

Throughout the Caribbean and in the U.S. many of our ancestors fought to abolish slavery. They fought against the notion that the humans with darker skin were essentially no better than wild animals that deserved to be captured and enslaved. Let's not go down that dark and evil road again. Let's not disrespect and deny the right of an intelligent being to freedom ever again. Let's leave the the dark ages in the past and the dolphins and other wild animals in their natural habitat.

The "Animal Planet" channel often has terrific reports on the life of dolphins in the wild. I highly recommend letting your children watch these episodes, as perhaps you should too.

And if you really want to have a wonderful time being close to the dolphins I recommend chartering a boat, such as with Capt. David Otero or Capt. Ramón Olea (please see my Activities page), and observing the dolphins in the wild. Almost every time I have been out in a boat off our coast I have seen dolphins come right up to the boat, and you don't have to go very far at all. They are usually within just a few miles of the bay, and sometimes even right in our bay. And at many beaches fronting the open ocean it is common to see them playing and surfing in the waves.

I hope you will also read the articles my friend "Bret in Portland" recommended to you. They are very enlightening.

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