Why is swimming with dolphins bad? What’s truth behind dolphins smile?

Hello again my fellow travel lovers. 

Have you ever thought about the activities you take while travelling/traveling? If you don’t support the trophy hunters who go on a safari to hunt wild animals just for fun and pictures, you will never swim with the dolphins after learning the true price these poor dolphins have to pay. Have you ever taken a selfie with dolphins, kissed one, or even swam with them? Most people who take part in any of these activities are completely innocent and genuinely love dolphins. They have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. Do you love Dolphins? Learn the truth behind the deceptive dolphin smile and you will never think about contributing to the dirty dolphin business.

Before writing this article, I spent months reading about the thriving dolphin business, watching every side of the story and following both the dolphin entertainment spots and activists like Ric O’Barry of Dolphin Project. After these few months, I couldn’t wait any longer. I feel like it’s my responsibility to share the little I have learned with you.

If this article makes one person change his/her mind about paying to swim with the dolphins or watch the dolphins perform, I’ll count it as success. Let’s dive right into the reasons why you will never want to swim with the dolphins again.

  1. When you visit the dolphin entertainment spot and look at the dolphins face, you’ll think they’re smiling 24/7. The sad news is that these dolphins aren’t smiling. They will have the same face sad, depressed, starved, stressed, in pain, or dead. 
  2.  Did you know that most dolphins are illegally captured and sold to parks around the world? The dolphin you’re paying to watch or swim with was captured in a traumatising way, separated from their family and transported to your entertainment spot. In the process of capturing these dolphins, the ones that are deemed less attractive are slaughtered and sold as meat. “Dolphins are dragged kicking and screaming from the wild where they belong and sold to the dolphin shows around the world under the name of education and research” – Ric O’Barry 
  3.  Many dolphins develop stomach ulcers, and die prematurely from the stressful conditions of captivity.
  4. They are deprived of food in the name of “positive reinforcement”. In order to eat their meal, the dolphins have to entertain you or they might just miss their meal.
  5. People have also been bitten and sustained broken bones in dolphin captivity. A good number of people have been attacked by dolphins in captivity. Read this article by World Animals Protection 10year old attacked by dolphins
  6. In the wild, dolphins have a choice of either staying or leaving which makes the attack almost impossible but in captivity, they feel threatened and can attack any time.
  7.  The dolphins in captivity are depressed out of boredom and become aggressive. Most dolphin trainers have admitted to giving them anti-depressants. 
  8. Many illnesses can be passed from dolphins to human visitors, including viral, fungal, and bacterial infections such as salmonella.
  9. Dolphins like other wild animals live in compatible groups. The ones in captivity are  often housed in incompatible groups, and because of the cramped conditions of their enclosures, they’re unable to escape conflicts.
  10. Water treatment methods such as ozonation and chlorination are used in the dolphins’ tanks to maintain the water clarity needed for visitors to see the animals clearly  and neutralise the bacteria from large quantities of animal waste products. The use of harsh chemicals like these can cause health issues, particularly of the eyes and skin.
  11. A lot of people have been injured in the dolphin programs but they are scared of coming out because they are made to believe that they must have done something wrong and it was their mistake. According to Dr. Naomi Rose (Marine Mammal Scientist), some people don’t report because the facility itself encourages the victims not to report the attacks by paying them off.  

If you haven’t watched the Academy Award Winning Documentary called THE COVE, I encourage you to watch it. Here is the trailer.

Here is a list of some short clips you can watch on YouTube to give you some insight. 

What can you do to help stop this? 

  1. Never visit any  dolphin captivity.
  2. Support organisations like World Animal Protection and Dolphin Project. They are fighting day and night to end this cruelty.
  3. Talk to your friends and family about this. As mentioned earlier, almost everyone who visit the dolphin entertainment spots are in love with these animals and would be shocked to learn what they are actually being part of by supporting the dirty dolphin business. 
  4. Always opt for responsible tourism when travelling/traveling. Avoid activities that involve animals in captivity like circus, swimming with dolphins/watching them perform, taking pictures with a heavily drugged tigger, or riding an elephant. If you stop supporting these businesses, they will have no choice but to shut down. 
  5. Share this article with your friends and family.

Thanks for checking. As usual, feel free to leave your thoughts and Let’s connect on my social media handles below.

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18 thoughts on “Why is swimming with dolphins bad? What’s truth behind dolphins smile?”

  1. I always wanted to swim with dolphins. But since I’ve heard about how badly they are treated I will no longer consider visiting places like this. I do know of one place in Florida that focuses solely on dolphin rescue and rehabilitation. I will only visit places like that whose intention is to treat the dolphins and release them.

    1. It’s shocking that in 2020 we’re still holding animals hostage for our own amusement. I’m with you on that decision and will also visit rehabilitation centres only.

  2. I’ve never swam with dolphins, and now I don’t think I will…I will enjoy them from afar when I see them swim in the ocean when I’m at the beach.

  3. There is a lot of great information here. We have a dolphin place here that has a few dolphins that were rescued and wouldn’t survive on their own out in the wild for various reasons, the aquarium next door to it has rescued sealife with similar issues such as a few sea turtles that were hit by boats thus developing “bubbles” in the back of their shell making it to where they can no longer swim properly, which will lead to death. So the aquarium helps build and make devices to help them swim better and keeps them on a good diet.

  4. I hate watching dolphin shows because I know I know they are being forced to perform. I had to go to one once because of a field trip and I sat there, crying. My coworkers were shocked to hear why I was crying.

  5. I think any attraction involving animals is a form of abuse. One time I was in Baguio, a city in my country, Philippines and they had horses there–you can take a picture with. The horses had their mane dyed in different colors and people were looking at them, amazed. But I was just so furious. It was a sad sight. The horses didn’t look happy at all.

  6. I am against all animal tourism, and swimming with dolphin is animal cruelty. People don’t realise that dolphins are not meant to be enclosed in aquariums! Dolphins are long distance swimmers, they love being in open waters, they are social creatures and love living among their own. Why should we capture, train and enclose them in pools, just for people’s own entertainment? It’s so cruel!

  7. I’ve never swam with dolphins but I admit, it’s one of the things that I want to do if I get the chance. I love dolphins but I did not know that they had to endure all these. Reading this was such an eye opener. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Wow… insightful! Animal captivity in general is demeaning. I have stopped visiting zoos, sanctuaries or any sort of space where animals are used for entertainment and monetization. Great message!

  9. Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of documentaries evolving around sea tourism and I must say I was a fan of it.
    I’ve always dreamt to mingle with daulphins until I’ve read your aticle ! After discovering such tragic and brutal truths, I’m no more an advocate of this kind of tourism.
    Thank you for your enlightening article. Indeed,animal abuse must halt !

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