The thought of using dolphins as surfboards would strike many people as being ridiculous. However at SeaWorld, this was part of the every-day routine – until this February, when the company finally announced that this practice would come to an end.
SeaWorld has been gradually phasing-out circus-style tricks at its locations, and the recent announcement furthers this. Trainers will no longer ride on dolphins’ backs or stand on their faces.
Earlier in 2019 a report co-authored by PETA Foundation veterinarian Heather Rally and Toni Frohoff, Sonar Co-Founder and Director of Research at TerraMar, clearly documented the many harms dolphins suffered at SeaWorld, including abrasions on their rostrums where trainers would frequently stand. Ongoing efforts by PETA, including press conferences and shareholder proposals and more, pressured the company to change its ways.
SeaWorld has committed to ending the use of orcas in its circus-style shows, however, dolphins continue to be forced to perform often daily. The veterinary report emphasizes that these spectacles are devoid of educational value and can lead the public to believe the behaviors they witness are normal and that such human-dolphin interactions are harmless.
Given the depth of intelligence and emotions that dolphins are known to possess, it is unethical to keep them captive for any reason, especially entertainment. At least now, their faces will no longer be stepped on.
Photo credit Alexisrael / WikiCommons.