Scientific research finds dolphins should not be kept in captivity
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As more and more people educate themselves regarding the plight of dolphins in captivity and the dismal, sterile lives they are forced to endure, more and more states as well as countries, worldwide, are banning "dolphinariums," are making laws to protect cetaceans in the wild and are making their territorial waters a sanctuary for them.
Cetaceans' brain as a matter of fact contain spindle cells, the type of cell in humans responsible for giving us complex speech, strong emotions and empathy. In whales and dolphins the concentration of these was even found to be three times as high as humans. Above that, their brains are a lot bigger.
There is more than just anatomic evidence. Dolphins are also self aware; cetaceans are the only species apart from humans that can think about thinking, and possessing self-awareness. (go to http://news.discovery.com/animals/dolphinssmarter- brain-function.html).
Other recent researches state cetaceans have cultures, their own names, accents, dialects, can teach each other, and deserve rights as nonhuman persons.
Anyone who is are not aware of scientific data that has been discovered about the wrongness of keeping of dolphins in captivity can educate themselves by going to this link: http:/ /www.hsi.org/issues/captive_marine/research/ case_against_marine_mammals_in_captivity.html http://www.hsi.org/news/ press_releases/2009/05/ suffering_at_whale_and_dolphin_attractions_ 052109.html
Coral World owner Trudie Prior, given her attitude toward keeping - and yes, breeding dolphins in captivity - should not be sitting on the Board of Directors for our very own Humane Society of St. Thomas when every Humane Society and Animal Welfare Organization, worldwide, are opposed to keeping dolphins and other marine mammals in captivity.
There seems to be a conflict of interest. One cannot pick and choose which animals to defend and protect when an organization is supposed to be dedicated to humane treatment of all animals. This is just wrong.
- New research suggests that dolphins are second only to humans in smarts.
- MRI scans indicate that these marine mammals are self-aware.
- Researchers think dolphins are especially vulnerable to suffering and trauma.
When human measures for intelligence are applied to other species, dolphins come in just behind humans in brainpower, according to new research.
Dolphins demonstrate skills and awareness previously thought to be present only in humans.
New MRI scans show that dolphin brains are four to five times larger for their body size when compared to another animal of similar size, according to Lori Marino, a senior lecturer in neuroscience and behavioral biology at Emory University, and one of the world's leading dolphin experts. Humans also possess an impressive brain-to-body ratio.
"If we use relative brain size as a metric of 'intelligence' then one would have to conclude that dolphins are second in intelligence to modern humans," said Marino, who performed several MRI scans on dolphin brains.
Marino will be presenting her findings at the upcoming meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
She says at least two other lines of evidence support her claims about dolphin intelligence.
First, various features of the dolphin neocortex - the part of the brain involved in higher-order thinking and processing of emotional information -are "particularly expanded" in dolphins.
Second, behavioral studies conducted by Marino and other experts demonstrate that dolphins exhibit human-like skills.
These include mirror self-recognition, cultural learning, comprehension of symbol-based communication systems, and an understanding of abstract concepts.
Marino believes these findings suggest that shows at marine park, dolphin-assisted therapy facilities and other forms of captivity "are psychologically harmful to dolphins and present a misinformed picture of their natural intellectual capacities.
"This point is based on the simple proposition that the more aware an individual is of one's present and future circumstances, the more intensely one may feel the difference between a pleasant and unpleasant situation, or the more one can think about, and thus experience, negative feelings and ruminate about the negative consequences of one's circumstances," Marino said.
"If this proposition is not true, then there is no basis for assuming humans suffer more than any other given animal," she added.
The scientist pointed out that during dolphin drives, when the animals are herded together by boats, some dolphins become so panicked that they die of heart attacks. Others die from exhaustion attempting to flee, while still others become entangled in nets and are killed or injured.
The dolphins that do survive are hoisted from the water, often by their tail flukes, and transported to the human-run parks and other facilities.
"The scientific evidence on dolphin sensitivities reveals that they are vulnerable to trauma and suffering when forced to live in the confined context of marine parks," Marino said.
Gay Bradshaw, director of The Kerulos Center, which provides sanctuary and support for animals suffering from human-caused trauma, agrees with Marino's determinations, saying, "What Dr. Marino states is congruent with theory and data.
- Alana Mawson, St. Thomas.