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Georgia Aquarium’s Shameful New Show

Written by PETA | April 26, 2011

A new attraction at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is being touted as a Broadway-style show, complete with costumed actors, animation projected on a huge screen, music recorded by a 61-piece orchestra, and, oh yeah, dolphins imprisoned for life in a chlorinated tank. Fun for the whole family—unless the family has a conscience.

The aquarium claims to pride itself on playing “a role in animal conservation,” but in an opinion piece published in today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution, PETA staffer Jen O’Connor points out that the aquarium spent $110 million on its splashy new dolphin exhibit—nearly 100 times the amount it spent on dolphin conservation. What’s wrong with this Broadway-style picture?

“In the wild, dolphins swim together in family pods up to 100 miles a day,” writes Jen. “They navigate by bouncing sonar waves off objects to determine location and distance. In captivity, their ocean worlds are reduced to claustrophobic swimming pools. Most aquariums keep antacids on hand to treat the animals’ stress-related ulcers.”

rachaelcleopatra/cc by 2.0

Dolphins are so intelligent that a neuroscientist at Emory University has recommended that they be given the same status as humans, and a professor of ethics at Loyola Marymount University backed her up by saying, “The scientific research suggests that dolphins are ‘non-human persons’ who qualify for moral understanding as individuals.” Would we lock up humans for life, just so that they could entertain a crowd for 25 minutes? The human actors in the Georgia Aquarium show get to go home to the families at the end of the day—not so for the dolphin performers.

“Try to imagine living in the same cramped place for the rest of your life,” writes Jen. “Animals who are genetically designed to swim the vast oceans are no more able to adjust to lifelong captivity than we are. That’s why prison is considered society’s harshest punishment.”

Read Jen’s entire essay here.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.

    @ Seth, Who are we to go against nature by altering the world order? Animals eat other animals. It’s sad, but true. Watch the nature channel, and you will see countless carnivorous scenes. But it is not OUR place, nor is it our right, to take animals out of their homes, to make them “entertain” us, by going against what they inherently know, for our own amusement.

  • Shawn says:

    I live here in Atlanta, and when they announced the dolphin exhibit, my first thought was, “bad ideal”, this is NOT a good thing people! Dolphins need to freely swim long and fast! They are very intelligent, and to be locked away everyday for the rest of their lives, never being able to properly socialize, and etc. Is another selfish thing we humans have done for the love of $(money)$ !!!

  • waltersmom says:

    seth-you are comparing the food chain of life to the exploitation of animals for entertainment-you make me no sense????????????????

  • Spider Woman says:

    Giving them human status would definitely protect them from massacres as they happen in the Cove! But I think that also the other big fishes like whales, sharks and whalesharks need the same rights – at least! Here we got the same problem as with the chimpanzees! There are people who want to give them more rights as to other animals! But what is with all the other primates??? And if vivisection on chimpanzees is forbidden – who are the closest relatives to us – why should it work with the species which are less close to us? This is a contradiction: this means if vivisection doesn’t work on chimps it’s working even less on other animals! It is always dangerous to prefer a species – even if surely every animal protector has also his preferences and special capabilities and affinity for a special species but i would say: the great public has to be educated to respect and give the freedom to all species – great and small and i highly appreciate the big work of PETA of guiding the humans in the right direction!

  • vote hillis says:

    there is a vote between horrible michael vick and peyton hillis for the Madden 12 video game cover.—brand_wk_madden-12_exact_69_title_espn_google PETA, the choice is yours…VOTE HILLIS!!!

  • Seth says:

    Yep.. Dolphins will always swim 100 miles daily to devour millions of beloved sea kittens to survive. It’s a fact!

  • Toby says:

    AJC has an immoral ‘teach the controversy’ approach with this; it’s like giving a pro & con to slavery (actually that’s exactly what it does). -the pro-abuse piece hardly mentions wellbeing of dolphins (which is after all the important issue in question), but instead cheaply & wrongly associates ethics with terrorism (obviously the term ‘extremist’ conjures violent militancy) and waxes poetic about experts on the scene… similarly, while the US government tortured/tortures people, it has experts standing. No number of experts can prevent dolphins from going insane in a pool; no number of patronising games can make up for the pain experienced by the slave prisoners. -Menard ends her pro-slavery ramble of with the assertion “we (the slaving torturers) are making the difference for the animals”… of course they’re making a difference! Torture makes a difference: a horrible difference. It should be illegal. -O’Connor did a good job, but look at the title: “intelligent creatures shouldn’t be caged like prisoners…” LIKE prisoners? They ARE prisoners in the same way people (what, 14 year old humans?) are prisoners when they’re enslaved. And, ‘creatures”? What, are family members are to be called creatures? I wouldn’t call my cousins creatures…creature is not a good term here, it’s loaded with ideas of separation (baggage). Anyway, at least AJC printed that! -dolphin suicide is especially telling of their tortured condition. Anyway, at least human supremacy is associating itself with physiologists and health care experts instead of pain-induction experts… that seems like progress, for sure.

  • Irina Seifert says: