Blog | Stop Swim-with-Dolphins Programs

Stop Swim-with-Dolphins Programs

May 13, 2011 by Ric O'Barry, Earth Island Institute


Stop Swim-with-Dolphins Programs

By Ric O’Barry

Campaign Director

Save Japan Dolphins

Earth Island Institute

Many dolphins from Taiji and the Solomon Islands, as well as dolphins caught in backwaters of Cuba and the Black Sea, wind up in dolphin shows and Swim-with-Dolphins programs in countries around the world, especially in tropical tourist magnets like the Caribbean.

These Blood Dolphins are ripped from their families to spend the rest of their lives in small, often polluted tanks and inlets.

Our Earth Island intern Laura Bridgeman is launching a new online campaign to encourage cruise lines and hotel chains to stop offering excursions to their customers for these programs.  Laura reports:


Earth Island Institute has launched a new campaign which aims to stop the suffering of dolphins in captivity by reducing consumer demand for captive swim-with-dolphin programs, or SWD programs, and dolphin shows as offered by nearly every major cruise line and hotel company in the United States. It is our position that these companies should withdraw SWD program offerings to their customers and take a firm stance against captivity for dolphins.

SWD programs are certainly in high demand these days. Every year, millions of people flock to dolphinariums and aquariums around the world, readily shelling out hundreds of dollars each for a chance to swim with captive marine mammals. The industry promotes these programs as being magical, educational, and also the perfect addition to any vacation itinerary.

The unfortunate truth about dolphin captivity is that it is the uneducated consumer who creates the surging demand for captive dolphins that exists today. The powerful emotions many of us feel towards these ethereal creatures are being exploited by companies who rake in enormous profits by luring people to swim with captive individuals, under the false pretense of it being enjoyable for both humans and dolphins alike.

These companies care, first and foremost, for their bottom lines. Because SWD programs are so lucrative, the companies will go to great lengths to ensure that their customers, as well as the public at large, remain ignorant of the suffering of dolphins in captive environments and the traumatic process of capturing wild dolphins for captivity.

Reducing the profitability of SWD programs through reducing consumer demand is therefore a powerful tool that can be used in stopping captivity altogether. With our new campaign to ‘Stop Dolphin Abuse by Stopping SWD Programs’, we will encourage hotels and cruise lines to stop promoting SWD programs to their guests. This will not only reduce overall demand but will also help in raising awareness that dolphins should remain wild and free.

You can help us by joining our cause on Facebook, and signing our pledge not to buy a ticket to a dolphin show. Be sure to stay tuned for updates. 




Photo Training a Captive Dolphin by Mark J. Palmer.

Share |