Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Activist Brings Attention to the Cruelty of Dolphinariums (Captive Dolphin Activities)

I’m glad someone is finally speaking out about this. Seems many individuals are fooled by resorts and the like selling dolphinariums or captive dolphin activities as eco. Though this is in regard to Turkey, it applies to any entity in any part of the world fooling people and profiting off of this obvious cruelty.

As stated below, “[p]eople get into the water to be as free as dolphins, but, ironically, dolphins have no freedom anymore. They live captive lives in the pools where they are imprisoned…”


Activists urge boycott of Turkish dolphinariums

Sunday, August 1, 2010

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

Documentary producer Savaş Karataş holds posters urging people to boycott dolphinariums in Turkey.

A filmmaker who plans to swim the Dardanelles to raise awareness about the plight of captive dolphins joined a group of animal-rights activists Sunday in urging people not to visit the country’s dolphinariums.

“People get into the water to be as free as dolphins, but, ironically, dolphins have no freedom anymore. They live captive lives in the pools where they are imprisoned,” documentary producer Savaş Karataş told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Sunday.

In a statement issued underwater along Istanbul’s Suadiye district coastline, the head of the Animal Rights Federation, or HAYTAP, objected to the use of dolphins for both entertainment and rehabilitative purposes, calling the latter unscientific as well as cruel.

“Treatment at dolphin aquatic parks, promoted as a way to give hope to families having children with disabilities, has no scientific basis,” said HAYTAP speaker Ege Sakin, adding that the ministries of health and environment should intervene to keep families from being deceived by such scams.

“The chlorinated water [in dolphinariums] burns the eyes of the dolphins and their sensitive skin is scratched by the nails of children using the animals as jet-skis,” Karataş said. “Since they are trapped within a too-small pool, they often hit the walls and close off their sonar systems from sending signals. As a result, they cannot communicate. They are deaf and numb.”

According to Karataş, the idea of opening dolphinariums in Turkey is an imitation of similar aqua-parks abroad, but Turkish authorities have mismanaged the capture and handling of dolphins. In European countries, he said, only dolphins that are defined as “orphans” – after being washed up onshore and separated from their families – can be used in such entertainment parks and must be treated first for any medical concerns.

“[In Turkey,] the Agriculture Ministry gave permission to capture 30 dolphins so it would not lose foreign currency by purchasing [orphan dolphins] from abroad,” Karataş said. “Around 24 dolphins were captured and one of them died during the operation.”

Animal rights have not been developed as a concept in Turkey and a law protecting them needs to be passed, Karataş said, explaining how he has initiated a “swim-in” protest, taking to the waters in the name of the captive dolphins that cannot in order to raise awareness about their treatment in the country’s approximately one dozen aquatic parks.

“I tried to show the tragedy of dolphins via my documentary. Now, I want to attract notice through swimming and make people question why they are participating in such entertainment shows where dolphins are unhappy,” Karataş said.

He already swam June 29 between Kaş, a tourist town in Turkey’s Antalya province and Kastelorizo, a small Greek island located 7.1 kilometers away in the southeastern Mediterranean; and July 18 in Istanbul’s Bosphorus for a distance of 6.5 kilometers. Another 6.5 kilometers await him in the Dardanelles off the coast of Çanakkale as he attempts to reach 20 kilometers in total.

Karataş previously shot the documentary “Saving Flipper” with the support of world-famous dolphin activist Richard O’Barry, who provided visual materials.

“We explained the journey of dolphins used as circus animals, brought from Japan to Turkey,” Karataş said. “Even if dolphins look like they are smiling during their performances, actually they are shedding tears.”

Noting that dolphins in aquatic parks are no different from the bears that were used to be forced to dance to live music on city streets, Karataş said: “Dolphins are in agony because [handlers] try to discipline them through hunger. Normally, they don’t eat dead fish, but they become accustomed to doing so since they have their performances at every meal time. Just for the sake of dead fish, they bounce balls and jump through hoops. How can we think that they are happy?”

Activists with HAYTAP are working with those in Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund to try and make dolphins’ voices heard. A sit-down strike is planned for Aug. 15 to demand the passing of an animal-rights law.

“If we cannot receive a result, we will go to Ankara on Oct. 4 and continue our action,” said Şule Baylan, the İzmir representative for the Protecting Nature and Animals Association, or DOHAYKO.

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