|< The Price Dolphins Pay to Entertain Us
The Cruel Reality of Dolphin Swim-with Programs
Hideous Dolphin Display Near Osaka, Japan
Watch the video: The Truth About Swimming with Captive Dolphins
You walk down a long ramp as though you were going into a hockey arena. In the distance is gleaming blue water. In the background lights flash and a cacophony of maddening sound reverberates off the walls.
It's Japan's World Ranch swim-with Dolphins program. As you enter the circular confines of this grotesque arcade you see a circular tank 5-foot deep circling a kind of stage area. It's a bit like a race course only smaller. Closer still you find there are two dolphins in this hallucinatory situation. They press close to the glass, desperate for something - contact? food? entertainment? I stand eye-to-eye with one of them. I cannot penetrate its mind and perhaps that is a good thing. The situation is conducive to madness.
We videotape the location. As we work, two Japanese young adults in wet suits are led by a pair of trainers into the central part of the tank area. They don snorkels and masks and enter the water. Two trainers with fish buckets lead the dolphins around the circumference of the tank with the snorkelers paddling along with them.
For the most part the dolphins pay no attention to the snorkelers - only the trainers with the fish buckets. At one point during the swim-with program one the young men reaches for one of the dolphins. The dolphin swats its tail with awesome power sending a geyser of water into the air. One trainer races to the edge of the water and starts throwing fish to the dolphin in a near panic. Eventually she is able to get the dolphin to the side of the circular pool. The diver swims on oblivious. He is, no doubt, thinking that he is communing with nature and having a life-changing experience with these dolphins.
The two dolphins at World Ranch were taken from Taiji. Most of their pod mates were butchered and left to bleed to death on the beach. The rest were shipped to aquaria and swim-with programs around the world.