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marnixR
Post  Post subject: swimming with dolphins  |  Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 3:23 pm
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i recently came across a book about anthropozoology, where in a few paragraphs the purported beneficial aspects of swimming with dolphins were ripped to shreds

very few of the benefits transcend the limits of anecdotal evidence + it also suffers from small sample sizes, no control group and a vested interest in reporting beneficial results
in fact, for the dolphins it could be positively wrong, because many are captured to act as therapeutic pets, which surely has some dubious ethical aspects

so if someone tries to collect money for a disabled child so that they can go and swim with dolphins, you have to ask yourself : do they really expect an improvement in the child's condition, or do they just want the temporary benefit of having a good time ?

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: swimming with dolphins  |  Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 4:29 pm
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I'm not sure there needs to be a distinction. There are certainly some who are looking for anyway to put a smile on the child's face (even at the expense of dolphin freedom), whereas I'm sure a countless many truly buy into the hype and think it will magically erase all of the kids ailments.

What about the idea of keep dolphins or other animals at all? It reminds me of the questions surrounding Sea World, and how we put massive whales like Shamu and other fish in tiny tanks... same with aquariums... so we can experience them and point and stare. Maybe the awareness and attention it brings to these animals does more good than harm on net... More benefit to the many due to the captivity of the few. What do you think?

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Moontanman
Post  Post subject: Re: swimming with dolphins  |  Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 12:24 am
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As an advanced aquarist (wow that's a mouth full) I know that many fish live far longer lives in captivity than they do in the wild but it is also true that a great many are killed due to people trying to keep them in far too small an enclosure or just due to neglect and the ease of replacement.

Keeping marine mammals in captivity is problematic to say the least. I feel rather strongly it's wrong to do so, I base this on a belief, not on empirical evidence, that such mammals are of comparable intelligence to us and keeping a human in a small cage for entertainment would be immoral.

The assertion can be made that these captive animals are ambassadors for their species and help people feel more altruistic toward sea mammals but so far no one has been able to get the whales opinion on the matter....


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: swimming with dolphins  |  Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 6:08 am
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presumably if someone wants to experience the therapeutic effect of a pet, having a cat, a dog or a rabbit might just as well do the trick ? + they're far more readily available than dolphins

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: swimming with dolphins  |  Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 4:19 pm
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Indeed, but then again... why can't people swim with dolphins out in the oceans where they are free? If you want to meet new people, you go to their neighborhood and hang out... You don't collect a bunch of them into a jail so you can sit with them on a prison mat. Shouldn't it be the same with marine life?

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: swimming with dolphins  |  Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 6:41 pm
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mind you, you're not very likely to see any dolphins in most parts of the world's coasts, are you ?
also, wild dolphins are not pets, and their good behaviour can't always be taken for granted

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: swimming with dolphins  |  Posted: Wed May 22, 2013 2:42 am
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Yeah, I don't disagree. I was more thinking that... if you want to go swim with them so badly, then the onus is on you to find the budget and find them in their natural environment.

At the same time, I can see wanting your children to experience something like this (and I concede that seeing them up close and personal like that can be a truly magnificent and memorable experience) in relative safety, low cost, and low effort.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: swimming with dolphins  |  Posted: Wed May 22, 2013 6:02 am
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oh, if you're going to have dolphins in captivity anyway (e.g. in a dolphinarium or something similar), you may as well do your swimming with dolphins thing
i can see how it would be the highlight of any child's day - just don't expect too much of it in the way of medical results

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: swimming with dolphins  |  Posted: Wed May 22, 2013 12:59 pm
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Kids with really serious conditions are often very nonresponsive to normal treatments. Mental disorders or even extreme autism can lead a child to shutdown, and experiences with profound impact like swimming with dolphins may very well help them have a break through and help the kid come out of their shell and engage with the world more fully.

I'm really of a mixed mind on this. I hate the idea of trapping animals in a cage... especially animals who are so obviously intelligent and self-aware, but I also concede that there is an amazing experience to be had when having the opportunity to interact with such animals so up close and personal. If I had to make a change, I would probably push to have fewer aquariums in their current forms and more opportunities to engage with them in a natural habitat that has had some basic safety efforts put forth... sort of like how we have shark cages when people want to see a Great White face to face.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: swimming with dolphins  |  Posted: Wed May 22, 2013 4:17 pm
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iNow wrote:
Kids with really serious conditions are often very nonresponsive to normal treatments. Mental disorders or even extreme autism can lead a child to shutdown, and experiences with profound impact like swimming with dolphins may very well help them have a break through and help the kid come out of their shell and engage with the world more fully.


mind you, the same effect can be achieved through the therapeutic effect of other pets

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: swimming with dolphins  |  Posted: Wed May 22, 2013 5:15 pm
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Touché!

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