Monday, July 19, 2010

Newsy: Dolphin Hurls Itself Out of Tank

The debate over keeping animals in captivity is heating up after footage of a dolphin jumping out of its tank in Japan hit the Internet. Here’s the clip.
First, the dolphin makes a high jump. Then, it jumps again. Other dolphins can be seen crowding around the creature. It was later lifted back into the tank with a crane, and trainers say it sustained only minor injuries. But critics say this is further evidence that captivity is cruel. ABC’s anchors are appalled, and say it seems like the dolphin was trying to escape.
“You almost wonder what these animals go through because they’re trapped there. They have to do shows for people. ... It kind of makes you wonder how desperate those animals feel, when they’re there all day, trapped up like that, having to perform shows and deal with people all day. So, that whale tried to make a run for it.”
And the Daily Mail quotes Ric O’Barry, the filmmaker who made The Cove, the Oscar-nominated documentary about dolphin slaughters in Japan. O’Barry says: “‘The habitat…is so unnatural it leapt out in desperation. … It wanted to end it. Why does a person jump out of a building?’”
But, NBC reports the aquarium is defending itself: “The manager of the animal park denied the dolphin’s captivity was cruel, saying the tank was not overcrowded and followed general aquarium guidelines.”
Do you think this dolphin was trying to escape? How do you feel about animals in captivity — is it necessary for education, or just cruel?

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