Κυριακή, 15 Ιουνίου 2014

INITIATIVE AGAINST CETACEAN CAPTIVITY: Who we are and what we stand for






The Facebook page Stop Attica Zoological Park Dolphinarium (Athens - Greece) was started by citizens who are against captivity of cetaceans. It was founded in 2011 as the English counterpart of the Facebook group ΟΧΙ ΣΤΟ ΔΕΛΦΙΝΑΡΙΟ-ΤΣΙΡΚΟ ΣΤΟ ΑΤΤΙΚΟ ΠΑΡΚΟ. It’s prime directive is to achieve better networking within Greek and international circles. We are not a specific animal protection organization nor are we a part of a political party. We are an independent group of people with interests in nature, ecology, animals and their well-being. We do however; collaborate with various animal protection groups within Greece and abroad and various political parties as well as activist groups that defend Animal Welfare or/and Animal Rights, always within the letter of the law.

Our group stays informed by following scientific research conducted on both wild and captive cetaceans, and hence we are up to date on current research and re evaluate our position according to new findings. One of our goals is to pass this information on to the public.


Over the past few years, cetacean captivity has become the object of public debate. Startling revelations by trainers have brought to light what really occurs behind the scenes in dolphinariums worldwide. In addition, we now have scientific evidence that confirms that these species are extremely intelligence and have a complex social structure. There are many difficulties that arise from an artificial environment, and consequently even the best infrastructures fail to provide the necessary conditions that are required for their well being. As the neuroscientist Dr. Lori Marino (i) Emory university states "it  is not necessarily the fault of the keepers who work with these animals and are certainly not out to mistreat them. These parks provide good veterinary care. The problem is that cetaceans just cannot take captivity".

By following the work of famous scientists and researchers like Jane Goodall, Naomi Rose, Ingrid Visser, Jean-Michel Cousteau and others who had the opportunity to study certain species of wild animals in their natural habitat, we have learned that for the cetaceans (and some other species such as elephants) family, social structure and means of communication are the cornerstone of their existence. Scientifically acclaimed behavioral scientist Lori Marino has demonstrated that the cetacean brain has complex cognitive functions as well as self awareness equal to that of the human. This scientific fact alone, condemns the use of these animals for entertainment and for captive study purposes.
 

Keeping dolphins in captivity and trading them from one country to another does not conform to scientific ethics and morals. Their high mortality rates and their continuous use in shows in front of an uniformed public do not advocate for educational nor scientific value. In captivity, these amazing creatures who have not lost their wild nature simply by being born in a tank, are obligated to spend their life trapped in a closed environment, deprived of sounds and stimuli found in the open sea. Dolphins in captivity primarily suffer from sense deprivation and this is stressful by itself. They are forced to obey and perform tricks in order to secure their food. They are also forced to procreate (usually with artificial insemination like cows and other farm animals) in order to provide new individuals destined to spend their whole life as captives.

Greece has never in it’s whole history made profit by exploiting dolphins and it’s not a coincidence that the ancient Greeks treated dolphins as equals, they called them "people of the sea" and had the death penalty for those who abused them.

In June 2010, while the rest of the civilized world was denouncing this type of "entertainment", a French businessman created the first dolphinarium in Spata, Attika, Greece. We are not against specific people or businesses, however, we are against conditions that contradict the ethical treatment of animals. As the world wide famous Ric O'Barry, who is known for defending the freedom of dolphins, says in the documentary "
A Fall From Freedom", "we are not a bunch of anarchists trying to close down these marine parks. Our strategy is to revolutionize them. There are many marine mammals that have become victims to pollution and nets and so forth, and they become stranded. Well, we need to take them off the beach and take them to these places, rehabilitate them there, and let them go. That should be the show. That’s the show. Not reducing them to performing circus clowns and selling this as education and research". We accept this position as well as those of others distinguished scientists and groups that are fighting for culture, nature and life and for a modern and civilized way of environmental education for the public. This modern and humane method of education is especially important for children, who deserve to be taught from their younger years responsibility and not complacency, to co- exist with other earthlings and not the conventional domination seen in a dolphinarium.

 



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