Hollywood Can Do Better

by Ric O’Barry
Director
Dolphin Project

Several movies and programs have appeared recently that have brought stars into contact with captive dolphins, as if such activities had no consequences.  Some stars have had photo sessions at the Miami Seaquarium, SeaWorld and other marine parks with captive orcas and dolphins.

Most recently, Kim Kardashian and her family were “introduced” to a trained dolphin, as if the dolphin had any choice.

In many cases, children were brought by their Hollywood parents to see captive dolphins and shows.  This is not just dolphin abuse, but child abuse.  The children are being taught that it is OK to keep these magnificent animals in captivity for personal use, without thought as to what the dolphins feel or need.

Hollywood can do better.  All producers, directors, screenwriters and stars should watch The Cove.  And they should then take the pledge — Don’t buy a ticket to shows with captive dolphins and whales, and don’t promote swim-with-captive-dolphin programs.

These captive programs separate dolphins from their families and their ocean environments, so they spend a lifetime in cramped quarters, eat dead fish, and perform circus tricks for us, the public, who so misunderstands them and their needs.

How would stars like it if they were put in boxes, only to be brought out to perform daily shows, doing dumb tricks, and then be paid by dead fish for dinner?  Why do we treat these intelligent and family-oriented animals as if they were toys?

 

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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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