ALTERNATIVES TO DOLPHIN CAPTIVITY
A THIRD PHASE ALTERNATIVE TO DOLPHIN CAPTIVITY
It is proposed that all concerned cetacean organizations develop - together - a set of alternative strategies for close human/dolphin interaction that, if implemented, would preserve the research, educational and entertainment functions of the captive dolphin industry, as well as the human element and profit margins, while reducing, with a goal of elimination, the biological and social cost to dolphins. The potential exists for institutions of close human/dolphin interaction to better educate the public, better than what is now called educating the public, about dolphins. Many dolphin and animal protection groups are willing to explore alternatives with those institutions that currently hold dolphins captive in order to find a way to improve mortality rates and the quality of life for dolphins interacting closely with humans, on a part time basis, in man-made enclosures.
Some dolphin and animal protection groups have chosen to explore this new and untried process with a program called the Dexter Cate Third Phase Alternative to Dolphin Captivity. Most dolphin holding facilities have two phases, training and display (shows), often with separate locations for each phase. We propose to add a third phase situated in the open ocean, but which can include income-generating programs such as informing and entertaining demonstrations and swimming with dolphins (notice we are not saying swimming on the dolphins) in the open ocean. The goal of the proposed facility would be to effectively replace operant conditioning, lower mortality rates, increase survivorship statistics and improve the quality of life for dolphins involved in close human/dolphin interactions.
To succeed, any proposed alternative program should provide relief for dolphins and the freedom to leave close human / dolphin relationships, while preserving the economic and research basis of the current dolphin industry. It is possible that solutions could be developed by using currently available technology and employing established training and communication strategies. For practical reasons the proposed solutions should have an implementation period of one year. Education, entertainment and research programs, that are compatible with and use the new approaches could receive bridge loans by public and/or private sources. In lieu of existing facilities willing to convert, prototype programs developed by dolphin and animal protection groups could receive funding through public and / or private sources.
Continued - Management Change
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