Don’t Buy a Ticket (Sample Letter to Editor)

A good friend of ours, Mara Silver, who is very active in support of our work to protect dolphins and end captivity, drafted up a opinion piece for her local newspaper about captivity.  She kindly prepared a draft Letter to the Editor that can be used by anyone to send to their local newspaper for reprinting.  Her draft is below.

Each of us contributes a lot to the effort for the dolphins and the whales.  I’m pleased Mara has helped all of us communicate to our friends and neighbors.  Feel free, of course, to personalize the letter in your own way.

You can find information from your local newspaper on how to submit letters to the editor either online or on the letters page.  Your paper will have different length limits for letters to the editor.

Sample Letter to the Editor:

When your children ask to see dolphins anywhere that they are kept captive, such as SeaWorld or “swim with the dolphins” parks, think twice. There is a very dark side to these places. Dolphins are intelligent, social mammals that live in family groups and swim long distances in the wild. In theme parks they suffer from sensory deprivation, social isolation, and nutritional deficiencies and they die from captivity-induced diseases. They perform for food rewards and appear to be smiling because their faces are shaped that way. The methods by which they are acquired are also questionable. Worldwide, the largest source of dolphins for the entertainment industry is the infamous Japanese town of Taiji, where dolphins are treated with unspeakable brutality. Although the importation of wild dolphins is now illegal in the U.S., SeaWorld has taken no action against animal trafficking, and it continues to provide the entertainment and business models for this unscrupulous industry. These parks are based on cruel and unethical practices, and should not be supported. Children have open minds. Tell them it is cruel to keep dolphins captive, that they need to swim in the ocean, and, just like people, be with their families. Offer alternatives like watching one of many educational films showing dolphins in natural habitats or take them on a whale-watching trip—children love it! You are teaching them to respect wild animals and protect them, which is good for them, good for the dolphins, and good for the planet.

[Your name] [Your town]



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About Ric O'Barry

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Ric O’Barry, Dolphin Project Founder & Director has worked on both sides of the captive dolphin issue, making him an invaluable asset in the efforts to end exploitation. He worked for 10 years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 working against it.

In the 1960s, O’Barry was employed by the Miami Seaquarium, where he captured and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of the same name. He also trained Hugo, the first orca kept in captivity east of the Mississippi. When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong.

From that moment on, O’Barry knew what he must do with his life. On the first Earth Day, 1970, he launched a searing campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry and has been going at it ever since.

Over the past 40 years, Ric O’Barry has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in many countries around the world, including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas Islands and the United States. He is a leading voice in the fight to end brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, the Faroe Islands, and wherever else they occur.

O’Barry has been recognized by many national and international entities for his dedicated efforts, such as being voted Huffington Post’s 2010 Most Influential Green Game Changer, and being listed on O Magazine’s 2010 Power List – Men We Admire for his “Power of Passion.” O’Barry received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program. He has done countless interviews with such prestigious news programs as Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, the Mike Huckabee Show, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

His book Behind the Dolphin Smile was published in 1989; a second book, To Free A Dolphin was published in September 2000. Both of them are about his work and dedication. He is the star of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove and the Animal Planet television series Blood Dolphin$.

Author: Ric O'Barry


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