Do Dolphins Belong In Captivity?

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

 

By Jasmine McManus, 16 years old. Jasmine is a high school student who is passionate about dolphins and their welfare. Last year, Jasmine started a change.org petition asking for the abolishment of dolphin captivity in Australia.

Dolphins are so much more than what most people know of them.

They are undeniably one of the most intelligent animals on Earth. Cooped up in captivity is not the life they exist for. Dolphins were not born to do mundane tricks for human enjoyment, they were born to be unrestricted. To explore the ocean as much as they please.

dolphin performing with keeper

Photo by Jasmine McManus

I recognised this from a young age, maybe because I had the pleasure of experiencing their magic in the open ocean and compared that feeling to the way they were when I saw them in captivity- stripped of their freedom. I became not only interested in their wellbeing around the world, but emotionally involved as well. It’s hard not to, when you know how much they’re suffering.

Dolphins held a special place in my heart from the beginning because they captivate, they are not destined to be held captive. I loved how graceful and friendly they were, but not only that, there was something dreamlike about them. You hear stories of them protecting people in grave danger out at sea, and you can’t help but wonder why we strip them of their basic rights.

I remember my grandparents went to Western Australia in Monkey Mia and told me a story about how they were part of a tourist group visiting wild dolphins at the shore of the beach. There was a young girl with down syndrome amongst the group, and every dolphin immediately swum up to her and circled around her. Their attention was on her the whole time. These stories shaped my understanding of dolphins as creatures of compassion and gentleness, and brought my attention to the fact that humans selfishly treat them as commodities.

I will do everything to release the rest of the dolphins in captivity in Australia, because as a human being, I owe them. I’ve always been proud to live in Australia but issues like this remind me we still have a long way to go.

I know there are so many people out there who feel strongly about animal welfare but don’t know what to do. I was the same. But you soon realise that animals don’t have a voice, so the only option is to act as their voice- for me that was starting a change.org petition. I know it’s not the one thing that’s going to save them but the most important aspect of advocacy is spreading awareness. Then comes the change.

The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or position of Voiceless. Voiceless does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information.

Learn more about dolphins in our 'Dolphins in Captivity' APE (Animal Protection Education). Our Animal Protection Education (APE) provides students and teachers with the information they need to understand the issue of dolphins in captivity.